Struggling KwaDukuza Electricity Department Rings in Structural Changes

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The embattled Electricity Department of KwaDukuza Municipality (KDM) is making vital structural changes to address the repeated problems of power loss and blackouts.

The Executive Director of the Electrical Department, Sibusiso Jali, presented an updated departmental organizational chart (staff structure) last Thursday at an urgent special council meeting.

This followed a week of power outages in KDM, which compounded hours of power outages already implemented by higher levels of load shedding.

The changes are intended to address shortcomings in the current structure, while preparing employees for the implementation of the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system early next year.

Changes in the department have been needed for some time, with energy losses snowballing to over R237 million in the last financial year with a department vacancy rate of 42.29%.

Jali identified the main problems plaguing his department, the main ones being vacancies, but also the lack of resources and adequate training for employees.

That aside from a lack of role clarity, a structure that did not favor internal succession plans, and directors spending more time “putting out fires” as opposed to upper-level planning activities.

He provided a dire picture of the situation in the department and made it clear why the losses had gotten out of hand.

Nonetheless, the changes could lead to major improvements if successfully implemented and widely welcomed by councilors present at the virtual meeting.

Primarily, filling 26 priority vacancies at an annual cost of R7.6 million is the first step.

Position descriptions will be submitted within 30 days of the meeting and published, after which it is hoped that positions will be filled in the current fiscal year (ends June 2023).

Fifteen of these are new positions created as part of the organizational chart to more specifically target current gaps in the service.

Of particular interest is a new planning engineer who will also act as senior manager for the fleet, as well as the employment of eight ‘faultsmen’.

As the name suggests, foul makers will respond to fouls and have specific roles and skills and should be able to fix problems on the grid faster.

Some will be new appointments, while others will be retrained artisans who fit the bill.

Similarly, the establishment of new sections such as the remote control and metering branch and the technical support branch should formalize responsibilities for ease of work and control.


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With a more structured shift system, it is also hoped that overtime costs – which used to skyrocket – will be reduced, while increasing efficiency.

Jali said they have also reached out to FET colleges to prioritize the future hiring of qualified graduates in relevant fields.

Advisors raised questions about how the ministry would operate during the transition phase, how the changes will be implemented and the oversight of this process.

Jali undertook to brief the board on the upcoming process.


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