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Dept’s alleged failure to pay utility bill leaves public in cold

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Residents who on Monday and Tuesday sought the services of the Department of Labour in the city were reportedly left in the cold as the department experienced electricity cuts due to the alleged non-payment of its utility bill.
One disgruntled resident, who visited the premises to request assistance on employment related matters informed Polokwane Observer that people had queued in the cold from as early as 05:00 in the morning only to be told at 08:00 that the department could not render services as they did not have electricity.
A source who wished to remain anonymous indicated that he had stood with hundreds of other South Africans in queues from dawn but unfortunately they were not alerted of the hiccups experienced as the department had not made any effort to put up notices informing the public of the situation.
Another source added that he was informed by one departmental official that the department’s electricity was disconnected due to non-payment of the utility bill.
“I have had two surgical procedures in the last eight weeks and it is extremely difficult to be at the department’s premises at 05:00 in the morning already just to be told at 08:00 that there is no electricity.
I have escalated the matter to the Presidency and to the national office of Public Works and Infrastructure. I think it is not fair that people can’t get basic services due to non-payment of a utility bill. This mess has to be sorted out soon for the department to render services as per their mandate,” he stressed.
When Polokwane Observer visited the premises on Tuesday afternoon to investigate whether the offices were operational, there was no sign of the queues usually visible outside the building.
The Department of Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure media liaison officer Mamoshashe Mabotha was contacted for comment but he referred Polokwane Observer to the regional office of the national Department of Public Works and Infrastructure as he indicated that the building in question was the responsibility of the national office.
Regional Head of the national department, Musa Ntshani further referred the paper to office spokesperson Thami Mchunu but the phone rang unanswered. Comment from Polokwane Municipality was also being awaited by the time of going to print.

Story: ENDY SENYATSI
>>endy@observer.co.za