Metro owes Eskom R92m
SIYANCUMA LOCAL MUNICIPALITY OWES THE MOST AMOUNT OF ALL MUNICIPALITIES
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.