Eskom ‘want their money’

Three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have un­til to­day to pay or ta­ble firm set­tle­ment pro­pos­als be­fore elec­tric­ity gets cut off

The New Age (Western Cape) - - News - ZODIDI MHLANA zo­didim@the­newage.co.za

WHILE ne­go­ti­a­tions for pay­ment were still on­go­ing be­tween par­ties yes­ter­day, Eskom has given three Eastern Cape mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties un­til to­day to pay their debts or have their elec­tric­ity cut.

The three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, Ray­mond Mh­laba, Wal­ter Sisulu and Inx­uba Yethemba, owe Eskom R200m.

The power util­ity yes­ter­day said that 22 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the coun­try had been is­sued with pay­ment no­tices.

While the ini­tial dead­line given to the three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to make pay­ment was on Wed­nes­day, it was ex­tended to af­ford the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties time to “make ad­e­quate pay­ment or to ta­ble firm debt set­tle­ment pro­pos­als”.

“If there’s no money to­day or no agree­ment, we will cut off their elec­tric­ity. The ball is in their court as to when and how much they are go­ing to pay. We have been en­gag­ing with them about their pay­ment plans and given them lee­way to sort them­selves out,” Eskom spokesper­son Khulu Phasiwe said.

“Be­cause we are in dis­cus­sion with them, it would be counter-pro­duc­tive to dis­cuss and at the same time take ac­tions against them. They have un­til to­day to make the pay­ments or the plan on how they are go­ing to pay.”

Ray­mond Mh­laba’s mu­nic­i­pal­ity yes­ter­day said that it was in the process of meet­ing with Eskom to dis­cuss pay­ment ar­range­ments.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity had also en­gaged with the pro­vin­cial co­op­er­a­tive gover­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs to avert power in­ter­rup­tions.

Phasiwe said other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that Eskom had is­sued no­tices of pay­ment were in Gaut­eng, North­ern Cape, North­West and Lim­popo.

“The fo­cus ul­ti­mately is not on the 22 as we have a big­ger pull, 60 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties » Ray­mond Mh­laba, Wal­ter Sisulu and Inx­uba Yethemba mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties owe R200m that we are track­ing over­all. These mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties owe Eskom R11.4bn. We can’t is­sue no­tices to all the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties at once.

“We are start­ing with the 22 and we will fol­low with oth­ers. Ul­ti­mately, all we want is for these mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to pay us what they owe us,” Phasiwe said.

Some of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties have un­til the end of Oc­to­ber to pay Eskom.

He said that the is­sue non-pay­ment by the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties was neg­a­tively af­fect­ing Eskom.

“We can’t con­tinue sell­ing elec­tric­ity when we are not get­ting money. It’s putting us un­der pres­sure like on Tues­day we were in Par­lia­ment where we had to ex­plain what is it we are do­ing to get our money.

“We can’t con­tinue to pro­duce some­thing and yet we are not get­ting money for it. It’s not sus­tain­able,” Phasiwe said.

QUICK FACTS

PIC­TURE: GETTY IM­AGES

EX­TEN­SION: Eskom has given three Eastern Cape mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties un­til to­day to pay their out­stand­ing ac­counts or have their elec­tric­ity sup­ply cut off.

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