Metro owes Eskom R92m


The New Age (Northern Cape) - - FRONT PAGE - TIISETSO MANOKO ti­iset­som@the­

THE fi­nan­cially em­bat­tled Siyancuma lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity owes power util­ity Eskom R92m which is the most amount of money of all mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the prov­ince.

Along with five other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the prov­ince, the au­thor­i­ties owe Eskom more than R300m.

The Renos­ter­berg mu­nic­i­pal­ity debt stands at R48m, while Them­be­lihle stands at R72m, Kai Garib R24m, Siy­ath­emba R21m and Tsantsa­bane R72m.

The mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are fac­ing a black­out if they do not pay their debt or make fea­si­ble pay­ment ar­range­ments.

Co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs spokesper­son Xhanti Teki said the six mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties which were given fi­nal no­tice by Eskom could not come to an agree­ment on how to pay back the money.

Teki said a task team headed by the pro­vin­cial trea­sury was work­ing around the clock to en­sure that the black outs were avoided start­ing on Mon­day.

“All six mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were en­gaged separately from the en­tire list of in­debted mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties since the com­mit­tee be­came aware that they had de­faulted on the ar­range­ments made with Eskom,” he said.

“Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties said they are still will­ing to pay but can­not keep up with their cur­rent ar­range­ments due to sev­eral is­sues rang­ing from poor rev­enue col­lec­tion to elec­tric­ity loss.”

Teki said Eskom had a fol­low up meet­ing with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on Au­gust 31 of which both the de­part­ments of co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance de­lib­er­ated thor­oughly on the is­sues raised by both Eskom and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing pro­pos­als from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties on how they were go­ing to pay up.

A com­mu­nity mem­ber in The­be­lihle mu­nic­i­pal­ity in Hopetown, David Tala, said they were never in­formed that their power would be cut.

“It is very sad that we pay for ser­vices from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity but we are get­ting gen­er­alised as peo­ple who do not pay ser­vices,” Tala said.

“These cut offs will have a neg­a­tive ef­fect es­pe­cially for busi­nesses where they might lose money or be forced to close down. It is a blow for many peo­ple.

“We just hope the mu­nic­i­pal­ity comes up with a plan that might as­sist us all. Yes there are those who do not pay from ser­vices, they are the ones whose elec­tric­ity must be cut off, not all of us.”

A shop owner, Louis Van Heer­den, from Dou­glas, said the cut off was go­ing to af­fect him badly.

“It is very bad, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity said they do not have money to pay Eskom,” Van Heer­den said. “This will mean my shop will have to close as well.

“I will have to tell my staff to stay at home while the cut off is con­tin­u­ing, this is ter­ri­ble and it is af­fect­ing the small econ­omy of the town.”

Mean­while, the Min­is­ter of Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Des van Rooyen said most of the prob­lems of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties was low rev­enue col­lec­tion and in­con­sis­tent man­age­ment styles.

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