Women to the front!

Young and dynamic Selelo is the shining star of Emfuleni.

She is a hard-working Emfuleni Local Municipality employee at the coalface of service delivery.  Meet Selelo Mulamula, a Senior Engineering Technician in the Electricity Department.

Selelo and her colleagues are responsible for keeping the lights on in various residential areas in the municipality, often suffering abuse at the hands of frustrated residents and homeowners in the line of duty.

Part of her job is leading teams in managing 88kv sub-stations to ensure consistent power supply and urgently attend to outages.

She also has the difficult task of informing other departments and senior managers of the municipality about any scheduled maintenance, power cuts, repairs and damages to the electricity infrastructure.

This is where she has excelled, always on time and available to report electricity faults to the Communications Department of the municipality and therefore allowing the municipality to communicate updates to residents on progress made in restoring power supply.

During winter, the electricity grid comes under great strain as demand exceeds supply with some sub-stations breaking down and in some extreme cases, even burning down.

Selelo and many others in her department are faced with challenges in their day to day duties, including shortage of critical resources and understaffing.
This is due to well-publicised financial difficulties the municipality is facing in recent months.

The young technician concedes her job has become very difficult and has found herself on many occasions trying to explain delays in restoring power supply to angry residents.

“We are trying our best with what we have. It is frustrating because we have customers that are disappointed in us,” she said.

Selelo is prepared to serve the community of Emfuleni wholeheartedly, but the municipality’s dire financial position means the turnaround time it takes for here department to resolve power outages is worsening.

“It is very difficult to work without proper resources, we know we can do more, we can offer more but due to the lack of resources, we are unable to deliver,” she said.

She is sworn at every day, accused of failing residents and running the municipality to the ground.

Residents also take out their frustrations caused by unrelated service delivery challenges on Selelo and her colleagues, because they are seen as the representatives of the municipality.

“We are attacked every day but we always try our best to calm residents down and explain to them the reasons for our delayed response to their electricity outages,” she said.

Selelo, who joined the municipality in December 2016, says in an ideal environment, the electricity department should be able to resolve all reported faults within 24 hours.

“We should be able to resolve community problems immediately. This is a call to serve and we should always do our best to serve our people as soon as we can, whenever they call us,” she said.

There are times when Selelo is called upon to act as the Customer Care Manager, dealing with service delivery complaints from angry and desperate residents who call the electricity call centre to report outages.

And every day she shines, like the star she truly is!

Selelo Mulamula is a hard-working Senior Engineering Technician in the Electricity Department.

By Wandisile Kunene

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