ANC promises that power remains on

MBOMBELA – The ANC has raised concerns over municipalities that are in debt to Eskom.

ANC provincial spokesperson, Ms Sasekani Manzini, said the party was concerned that municipalities owe the power utility and have called on mayors and municipal managers to explain how they were planning to pay their bills.

“We are taking action to ensure that the people of Mpumalanga are not affected by Eskom’s power cuts,” she said.

City of Mbombela Local Municipality (CMLM) and Emakhazeni Local Municipality (ELM) are the two municipalities mentioned in Eskom’s recent final decision notice, published in Mpumalanga News’ classified section on January 12.

Speaking to the municipal manager of ELM, Ms Lizzy Shabalala, on Tuesday, she said the municipality paid its outstanding balance of over R9,5 million last week Thursday. “We paid Eskom last week, and received a letter from them that they will no longer cut our electricity.”

Mbombela’s spokesperson, Mr Joseph Ngala, assured this publication that CMLM will not be one of the municipalities to be switched off next week, as it had already made plans to pay. He said the municipality would have paid all R70 million, which includes the arrears and its current account.

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“We paid R20 million on Monday and will pay R50 million tomorrow (on Wednesday),” said Ngala during a call conversation earlier this week.

Mpumalanga News learned that the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs met with all municipalities on Wednesday. A reliable source reveals that it appears only Emalahleni, Msukalikwa, Likwa and Mkhondo might still be in debt by next week.

“Only those four municipalities might be still be owing Eskom unless something drastic happens between today (Tuesday) and Thursday,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Also Read: City of Mbombela owed R60,4 million by government

In a media release, Eskom’s interim chief executive, Mr Matshela Koko, said electricity interruptions were the last resort, a decision they have not taken lightly.

Koko said that they would monitor the adherence to the payment plans. “Time has come for the outstanding overdue debt to be honoured in full. Eskom is bent on ensuring that this happens for the sole benefit of not only Eskom, but the entire South African economy.”

To avoid supply interruptions, the municipalities need to meet the following three requirements:
• A cash payment as negotiated with each municipality.
• A written undertaking in the form of a council resolution that current accounts will be honoured going forward.
• A payment plan for the arrears supported by a council resolution.

  AUTHOR
Thobile Mlangeni
Journalist

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