Free State mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to pay Eskom debts

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Katleho Mo­rapela

Eskom con­firmed yes­ter­day that Mantsopa and Ma­fube lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the Free State have made pay­ment ar­range­ments af­ter Man­gaung Metro mu­nic­i­pal­ity reached an agree­ment with the power util­ity last week.

This fol­lowed threats to in­ter­rupt power sup­ply to all three due to non­pay­ment.

Last week, Eskom is­sued a no­tice to Centlec, Bloem­fontein’s power util­ity, stat­ing its in­ten­tion to cut power sup­ply to the three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties as of yes­ter­day, if they did not make pay­ment ar­range­ments.

Eskom said Man­gaung owed more than R170 mil­lion, Ma­fube owed R52 mil­lion and Mantsopa R205 mil­lion.

The util­ity’s Ste­fanie Jansen van Rens­burg said the planned in­ter­rup­tions were a re­sult of the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ fail­ure to hon­our pay­ment con­di­tions, and would serve as a means to re­duce es­ca­lat­ing debt.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the prov­ince col­lec­tively owe the power util­ity over R9.8 billion. The Free State is the prov­ince with the high­est Eskom debt coun­try­wide.

Jansen van Rens­burg con­firmed that should the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties again “fail to ad­here to the terms and con­di­tions of the pay­ment agree­ment, Eskom will is­sue a 48-hour no­tice to in­ter­rupt sup­ply”.

Fol­low­ing the power in­ter­rup­tion no­tice last week, the

Demo­cratic Al­liance (DA) called on Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to in­ter­vene.

The DA’s Cil­liers Brink said Dlamini-Zuma could not stand by and watch as Man­gaung col­lapsed.

The party said more needed to be done to ad­dress the dire fi­nan­cial state of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the prov­ince and en­sure that they ad­hered to their Eskom agree­ments. – OFM News

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