No money for Eskom debt

2016-02-10 06:00

THE MEC for Cooperative Governance and Human Settlements, Olly Mlamleli, says there is no extra money to bail out the eight municipalities that owe Eskom R842 million.

The eight Free State municipalities might soon face blackouts if they do not settle their debt or make sustainable payment arrangements with the power utility.

Mlamleli said her department had partnered with the provincial treasury to assist municipalities with making sustainable payment plans for Eskom.

Poor infrastructure, mushrooming informal settlements, illegal connections and high Eskom interest rates are some of the mitigating factors cited by Mlamleli.

Eskom has already served notices to the municipalities and said it would exercise its right to disconnect the supply of electricity by 30 March.

The municipalities in debt include: Nketoana, Masilonyana, Tokologo, Manstopa, Ngwathe, Dihlabeng, Nala and Phumelela. Free State senior manager of customer services, Bibi Bedir, said they expected the current debt to be settled in full and would negotiate payment arrangements for outstanding debts with municipalities individually.

Meanwhile, DA MPL James Letuka said it was worrying that the province continued to find itself under threat of having electricity supply suspended to hundreds of people.

“It is evident that the provincial government and Free State municipalities have been unsuccessful to adhere to payment plans, or to find an amicable solution with Eskom.

Last year, the power utility also served notices to municipalities in the province that owed almost R2 billion.

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