Tshwane's Smart Meter Program Cancelled

Pretoria – Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, has dismissed allegations the city will have to pay about R1.2 billion over the next two years as a penalty to exit an agreement with PEU (Pty) Ltd for smart electricity meters.

Mayor Ramokgopa said he did not know where the claims had emanated from, but that the city had only paid just above R830 million for services provided by the company.

“That document is manufactured. We don’t know where it is coming from. We can account for what we have paid for and we have paid for the service,” he said on Friday in Pretoria, at a media interface to unpack the State of The Capital Address (SOCA).

Allegations the municipality would have to pay PEU Capital Partners more than R1.2 billion for the terminated smart meter contract made media headlines earlier this week.

On Tuesday, the city announced it had terminated its smart metering contract with the company with immediate effect.

The decision to terminate was largely based on the negative financial and economic impact of the project on the city.

The roll-out of the smart meters commenced in October 2013, and 6 572 Large Power Users (LPUs) and 6 348 Small Power Users (SPUs) smart meters were installed in parts of the city.

“Since the roll-out of the project, the city has paid the service provider R830 290 787 in terms of the Master Services Agreement (MSA) concluded between the two parties. No further roll-out of the smart meter is anticipated beyond this point,” the Mayor said.

Free Wi-Fi

In his State of the City Address, Mayor Ramokgopa announced that phase one of the free Wi-Fi connectivity project, which was launched in 2013, had benefitted about 25 000 users spread across Soshanguve, Mamelodi and Atteridgeville.

“Today, the Tshwane Free Wi-Fi Project has reached unprecedented heights, all for the benefit of the citizens of Tshwane and boasts a current capacity able to serve over two million users across 575 sites, with a further 50 sites to be deployed by the end of the current financial year.

“We currently have coverage across all seven regions of Tshwane with at least one free Wi-Fi site in 96 wards,” he said.

He said the city had plans for residents to access free Wi-Fi in every streets and corner of Tshwane.

The Mayor encouraged young people to approach the city with innovative ideas that will help in transforming the city, seeing as they now have access to free internet.

Eradicating drug abuse

Mayor Ramakgopa acknowledged drug abuse, especially Nyaope, was one of the main challenges facing the city.

He said although the city did not have its own plans to eradicate the problem, it would allocate about R50 million to non-governmental organisations that have long been fighting to address the problem.

Mayor Ramokgopa said he envisaged Tshwane will be a city that leads with ideas in South Africa.

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- SAnews.gov.za