Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan has said that debt-laden power utility Eskom is owed a combined R632m by three neighbouring countries for providing electricity.
Gordhan, in written reply to a question from Democratic Alliance MP Denis Joseph, said the debtors were
- Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) of Zimbabwe - which owes R322m;
- Zesco of Zambia - which owes R221m; and
- Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM) - which owes R89m.
Eskom, which has a total debt burden of R450bn, has for years experienced difficulties in collecting money owed to it electricity it has already provided. It is owed about R25bn by South African municipalities, many of which are financial trouble.
Gordhan said none of the funds owed to Eskom by the power utilities of neighbouring countries were in dispute. "Eskom's clients acknowledge their debt and attribute economic challenges as well as financial constraints as the cause of their delays in settling the outstanding debt," Gordhan said.
The minister included a submission from Eskom in his written reply, which said Zimbabwe's economic challenges meant it was unable to honour its debt obligations.
"Eskom and Zesa currently have a payment plan agreement for the settlement of the debt and Zesa is paying off the debt as per the agreement," the submission said. Eskom said it supplies EDM with standby power.