Lights to stay on in Kannaland - for now

2016-02-29 19:45
(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - The Kannaland municipality in the Western Cape was given a reprieve on Monday after Eskom decided not to go ahead and cut its electricity because of the money it still owed.

Eskom said that the decision to disconnect the municipality - and everybody who lives in the municipality - had been suspended.

"Eskom will continue to engage with the municipality on the remaining arrears debt of the municipality," the utility said in response to a media query.

"Eskom reserves the right to continue with the disconnection of the Kannaland municipality, should no sustainable agreement be reached. It should be borne in mind that the disconnection of electricity is a measure of last resort after all engagements have been exhausted."

Executive Mayor Jeffrey Donson was not immediately available for comment, but on February 10 he delivered a feisty plea to the Western Cape legislature's standing committee on local government.

Hoping to stave off disconnection, Donson said the municipality was constantly undersupported, with staffers doing the work of two to three people.

The only way out, according to Donson, was for the municipality to be allowed to borrow around R7m from Standard Bank towards its arrears of R12.7m. It would offer R8m to Eskom in full and final payment, with the balance of the R12.7m written off, if Eskom agreed.

He explained that they were up to date with their current account, but paying off the arrears at R500 000 a month was crippling them.

But the committee did not buy it, and at a press conference last week, committee chairperson Masixole Mnqasela said the committee was appalled that the municipality wanted to use debt to pay debt and to use some of the money set aside for the poorest of the poor in the community to top up the proposed repayment.

It planned to ask Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister David van Rooyen and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan to put the municipality under administration.

Mnqasela said on Monday that a meeting would be held this Wednesday with everybody involved, with the committee pushing for intervention in terms of Section 139 of the Constitution.

This way, an overseer would have control over the inflow of cash and be able to ensure proper financial controls, credit worthiness, and in rebuilding trust between business and investors.

At the meeting the committee would also be briefed on what Eskom's plans were.

Read more on:    eskom  |  cape town

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