While the rest of South Africa has been hard hit by load shedding this weekend, residents from Nelson Mandela Bay have not had to endure any planned power outages since Friday as the city’s electrical staff have downed tools in an unprotected strike.
The striking staff are responsible for implementing the scheduled outages based on Eskom’s national load shedding requirements.
Staff at the energy and electricity department of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality have downed tools in a protest believed to be related to allowance issues.
This came after the 2015/16 budget for the metro, tabled under new Mayor Danny Jordaan last month, saw a R500 million cut from salaries for vacant positions and special skills levies, and a further R123 million cut in the maintenance budget.
Speaking to local radio station Algoa FM, Metro spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, said it was not a formal strike and that senior management from the Office of the City and Electricity and Energy Department were engaging the workers to try and end the impasse.
The strike came to light after a faulty line went down in the Seaview area on Friday night and delays in the repairing of the line became apparent when staff were not prepared to attend to the matter.
Mniki said load shedding could still be implemented, as Eskom did have the capacity to implement it on its own. He advised residents of the Metro to still plan for load shedding according to the outage alerts they receive.