By Sabelo Majola | 2018-03-27
IT was sheer frustration for all those who had come to do business at the ministry of home affairs after a power blackout was experienced for the whole day yesterday.
It was gathered though that the blackout was not due to power outrage but the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) had switched off electricity at the ministry due to home affairs owing millions of Emalangeni.
Operations at the ministry came to a halt at around 9am and some of the people who had come for the services offered by the ministry had to endure queues waiting for the situation to normalise or return home.
With the Easter holidays starting on Friday, there was an influx of people who had come to get passports while some had come for national identity’s cards and certificates. However, due to the power blackout, the officers at the ministry could not take photos for passports and ID’s, as a result the queue kept swelling especially at the reception area.
One of the people who was in the queue said she had arrived in the morning before operations began but had to go do other errands because of the power blackout at around 9am and upon her return a few hours later, the power had not come back.
“It is discomforting to have a whole ministry running out of electricity, especially when their services can only be done with the use of power.
We have other things to do but we are now stuck in stagnant queues and we have to fork out a ridiculous E500 at the end of the day,” she said.
People had to use phone lights to navigate through the dark offices and hallways of the ministry and they had to use the stairs as the lifts were not an option under the circumstances.
Astonishingly though, there was no electricity blackout at the ministry of health which is housed in the same building as home affairs which sparked speculation that the ministry might have run out of electricity units.
A source asserted that the ministry owes millions to the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) and it is for that reason that the latter decided to cut the power yesterday.
When contacted, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Anthony Masilela confirmed the power blackout, citing that they tried to work on the issue and lights along the passages had come to life but operations remained grounded.
“If the power blackout is caused by the ministry owing the Swaziland Electricity Company then it lies with the accounts department because I did sign a cheque that was meant to settle any outstanding balance with SEC and I’m yet to check with them on what happened,” he said.
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