MEC stops elec­tric­ity cuts

The Sunday Independent - - POLITICS -

Cup would pro­vide an es­ti­mated R4.5 bil­lion for Dur­ban from an es­ti­mated R27.3bn the coun­try would earn as hosts. Dur­ban’s iconic Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium would be among the host sta­di­ums.

Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the del­e­ga­tion, which in­cludes SA Rugby pres­i­dent Mark Alexan­der, who said SA Rugby is pleased with the sup­port it has re­ceived. The com­mit­tee has asked South Africans to rally be­hind the bid us­ing the hash­tag #SouthAfrica2023. THE GAUT­ENG pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has promised to en­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions with Eskom to set­tle the elec­tric­ity bills of its strug­gling mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in a bid to avoid power cuts to Em­fu­leni and Mer­a­fong lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Gaut­eng MEC for Fi­nance Bar­bara Creecy made the an­nounce­ment fol­low­ing a meet­ing she had with var­i­ous mem­bers of may­oral com­mit­tees for fi­nance from all Gaut­eng mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. The MEC-MMC of Fi­nance Fo­rum was con­vened to as­sess the state of mu­nic­i­pal fi­nances, gov­er­nance and ser­vice providers to ratepay­ers.

Gaut­eng mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties owe Eskom a com­bined amount of R1 bil­lion.

“As the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment we are working around the clock with Eskom to fi­nalise a clear pay­ment plan that will be hon­oured by the rel­e­vant mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for out­stand­ing debt to the power util­ity. We are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that we avoid power cuts be­cause this will im­pact neg­a­tively on ci­ti­zens, busi­nesses and ul­ti­mately lo­cal economies,” Creecy said. She said the ac­counts of Mid­vaal, Mo­gale City and Lesedi lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties were cur­rent and within 30 days.

In May, the DA be­came very critical about the es­ca­lat­ing debt of Em­fu­leni lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity and they called on Creecy to in­ter­vene when Eskom threat­ened to cut the elec­tric­ity sup­ply. Em­fu­leni elec­tric­ity debt stood at R114 mil­lion while they owed Rand Wa­ter R214m.

At the time, the DA’s Em­fu­leni con­stituency head King­sol Cha­bal­ala said: “Mal­ad­min­is­tra­tion and poor fi­nan­cial de­ci­sion mak­ing are to blame for the col­lapse of ser­vice de­liv­ery in Em­fu­leni. Schools and clin­ics will now be placed at risk without wa­ter, while the mayor con­ducts his busi­ness in lux­ury from the Shake­speare Ho­tel”.

Now Creecy and her team say their lat­est in­ter­ven­tion will en­sure that strug­gling mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties own up to their debts.

Creecy said rev­enue col­lec­tion was still a chal­lenge in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the met­ros, which were owed R49 bil­lion.

“The big­gest debtors are res­i­dents and com­mer­cial cus­tomers owing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties R31.8 bil­lion and R13 bil­lion re­spec­tively for ser­vices and taxes. Gov­ern­ment is the small­est debtor ac­count­ing for 3% of the to­tal out­stand­ing amount.

“In or­der to ad­dress house­hold debt, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties such as the City of Ekurhu­leni and City of Tsh­wane have em­barked on var­i­ous ini­tia­tives to en­cour­age con­sumers to pay,” Creecy said.

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