Some residents of Tsumeb have run out of power as the town suffered network failures over the past two days. As a result of the power outages, vending machines are not functioning, a situation that has left residents fuming because their dairy, meat and other perishable foodstuffs have gotten rotten.
The situation has not affected those that have sufficient credit on their prepaid power units though. Purchases of electricity at vending machines in the area and via online banking transactions are not being processed due to the unavailability of a network through which electricity is normally purchased.
Residents are up in arms over this, as without power they have no other means to safely store their perishables and fresh food. Many said they have no other means to prepare their food.
Tsumeb’s power supply is under the administration of Cenored, although towns such as Grootfontein, Otavi and Otjiwarongo – under the same company – are not affected by the recent interruptions in power supply.
The blackouts have not only affected residents, but also banks, who complained of a weak network and an on-and-off telephone linkage, which resulted in some cases in slower customer service. Some local banks said although they experienced network problems it is not necessarily affecting their operations.
When contacted for comment, some Cenored staff refused speak to the press, while others claimed the problem originates on the South African side of the border. New Era could not independently verify this claim.
“It’s not a problem with the vending machines, there is no network. The issue is from South Africa. We don’t know what’s wrong. We can only get the network if the guys that side fix the issue,” said one official, who referred this reporter to their head office in Otjiwarongo for further clarification.
Information technology official Washington Munyanga confirmed that there was indeed a network failure, although he maintained that only MobiPay vending services were affected, as they are directly linked to South Africa.
“I can confirm that MobiPay is still out of service due to network issues, that’s why people are unable even to buy electronically, because the system is connected to Mobipay. But other vending outlets, such as Tusk and Netvend, are operational,” Munyanga said.
He advised consumers to use Cenored offices to purchase power, as their payment systems are operational.