MUST READ: Sun sets on solar lights in Newcastle

The solar lights in Murchison Street are taken down.

No longer will the sun shed its light on the solar powered lights in Newcastle.

During March, the Newcastle Municipality procured the services of a company, which erected 32 solar powered lights in town.

Four were erected on Sutherland Street, five on Murchison Street, three on Boundary Road and 20 on Asiphephe Drive.

The solar lighting was 100 per cent renewable, as the lights were charged naturally. This proved to be cost effective, and was an environmentally friendly move away from the current electrical street lights.

However, after the municipality allegedly failed to make payment on the lights, the service provider was forced to remove them on Wednesday, October 4.

“We were told the lights would be paid for, but were not given direction on when,” said Jim Jin, from the company’s financial department.

After waiting six months, the service provider could wait no longer.

“We were told if we could not wait for the money, we should remove the lights. This, we did.”

However, Jin said the company would gladly restore the lights if and when the municipality made the necessary payment.

Acting Strategic Executive Director of Community Service, Dr Dumisani Thabethe, explained payment was not made as the service provider was never on tender with Newcastle Municipality.

“The only agreement we had was for a 60 day pilot project.”

He said since the removal of the solar powered lights, the street lights on Sutherland and Murchison Street would be turned on.

“However, community members stole the cables supplying the Asiphephe Drive lights with electricity. Therefore, the road will be dark until the cables are replaced.”

There were also no plans to restore the solar powered lights in the foreseeable future.

“Solar powered lights are more economical and cost less on maintenance. However, they are expensive,” said Dr Thabethe.

Furthermore, until the service provider went on tender, the municipality would not be able to pay the company.

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  AUTHOR
Quinton Boucher
Journalist

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