Eskom wants debt paid up

The New Age (Free State) - - FREE STATE NEWS - REFILWE MA­GASHULE re­filwem@the­

MU­NIC­I­PAL­I­TIES in the Free State re­port­edly owe the big­gest debt to the na­tional power sup­plier, Eskom.

With a stag­ger­ing over­all debt of R6bn, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have a tall or­der ahead of them to keep the lights on and en­sure that the debt is re­duced.

The Free State is fol­lowed by Mpumalanga and North West with R3bn and R1bn debt re­spec­tively.

The Tokol­ogo lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity es­caped elec­tric­ity in­ter­rup­tions on Fri­day af­ter reach­ing an agree­ment with Eskom.

How­ever, the Masilonyana lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity was re­port­edly also un­der threat from Eskom due to its debt.

Eight mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Free State are still faced with debt and in­clude Tokol­ogo, Masilonyana, Matjhabeng, Ma­luti-APho­fung, Nke­toana, Nala, Dih­labeng and Mantsopa.

Speak­ing to The New Age re­cently, Eskom na­tional spokesper­son Khulu Phasiwe said the mul­ti­ple bulk sup­ply in­ter­rup­tions were the last re­sort in terms of Eskom get­ting its money and as a re­sult mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were now com­ing for­ward to make pay­ment or ar­range­ments.

“And this is ex­actly what we wanted,” Phasiwe said.

He said the three prov­inces with the most Tokol­ogo – R36m Masilonyana – R48m Matjhabeng – R1.7bn Ma­luti-a-Pho­fung – R2.6bn Nke­toana – R163m Nala – R184m Dih­labeng – R181m Mantsopa – R111m debt owed to Eskom needed to bear in mind that the power util­ity needed the rev­enue.

“We need to pay mines that pro­duce coal. Con­se­quently if we are not get­ting money to pay for coal and other things we need to pay money on that clearly means Eskom could grind to a halt,” he said.

Phasiwe said Eskom was in Par­lia­ment last week to seek as­sis­tance from the govern­ment and Par­lia­ment in par­tic­u­lar in terms of re­solv­ing the im­passe be­tween mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and the power util­ity.

With re­gard to the bulk sup­ply in­ter­rup­tions, Eskom has sent no­tices to the me­dia and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ad­vis­ing mem­bers of the dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties and con­sumers to make al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ments for the sched­uled pe­ri­ods of in­ter­rup­tion.

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