ECB raise red flag on Keetmanshoop town council operations

Stefanus Nashama

Electricity Control Board (ECB), has indicated that Keetmanshoop Town Council might soon operate with expired Safety and First Aid training certificates which is set to expire in July this year, among several other issues the town council is facing.

A report conducted by ECB in February this year, indicates that the town council is facing several challenges related to the operations of its Keetmanshoop Electricity Business Unit (KEBU).

This information was disclosed in the audit report on KEBU as a department, which was formerly known as SELCO.

The report highlighted low salaries paid to KEBU staff, expired Safety and First Aid training certificates, lack of progress on Token Identifier Rollover, inadequate fuel quarters, non-paying customers and an unfilled vacancy for an Electrical Engineer position within KEBU.

According to the report, ECB conducted an audition to oversee the state of KEBU’s operations and infrastructure and overlook previous concerns in the department.

It was disclosed that KEBU employees are not dissatisfied with low salaries that were not reviewed after the transfer from SELCO in 2017.

On this issue, ECB made a recommendation to engage with the council for assistance and to ensure the establishment of standardised salary structures for the electricity industry.

It was also revealed that the Safety and First Aid training certificates in possession of staff members will expire in July.

According to the report, KEBU was recommended to arrange new training sessions for the entire department before the expiry date. The training should include industry exposure for councilors.

The report also highlighted the issue of the lack of progress on Token Identifier Rover over.

Adding that electricians raised concerns about insufficient fuel quarters. However, this request had not yet reached management.

The council has a resolution in place that prohibits the municipality from suspending non-paying residential conventional customers, although there are non-paying residents at Keetmanshoop, as revealed in the report.

“ECB was informed that businesses and GRN are however getting suspended as of October 2023. The ECB emphasised that while electricity provision is a service provided by the council, it is also regulated by the ECB.

Therefore, addressing non-paying customers is crucial as their costs impact Keetmanshoop’s tariff application every year, potentially leading to higher electricity costs for the town. The ECB requested a copy of the mentioned council resolution for review,” the report stated.

According to the report, KEBU has been without an electrical engineer since December last year despite human resources department being forwarded the vacancy for advertisement, added the report.

“The appointment is critical for ensuring business continuity, particularly in tasks related to networking drawings, simulations, and other essential functions within the department and business unit,” stated the report.

The ECB directed the municipality to address all issues by the end of October and advised including budget allocation in the tariff application process.

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