Eskom pleads with Tshwane to settle R635m in debt so that the lights stay on

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Eskom said it met with Tshwane mayor Randall Williams this week in an effort to recover R635 million owed to it by the city.
Eskom said it met with Tshwane mayor Randall Williams this week in an effort to recover R635 million owed to it by the city.
Picture: Melinda Stuurman

Eskom, which is on a mission to crack down on municipalities that owe it money, met with Tshwane mayor Randall Williams this week in an effort to recover R635 million owed to it by the city.

Eskom said on Thursday that the debt, which was due on 18 January, had knock-on effects to its "liquidity, financial performance and sustainability", leading to the utility having to borrow more to meet its financial obligations.

"The City of Tshwane's payment patterns have been irregular over the past six months and have contributed negatively to Eskom’s increasing overdue debt which is in excess of R43.8 billion," the utility said.

"Over the past months, we have engaged the city on these irregular payments and the impact they have on Eskom to keep the lights on.

"We remain hopeful that the city will review its current position regarding the appeals made to them by Eskom and honour their payments." 

The mayor’s spokesperson Sipho Stuurman told Fin24 that Williams would provide the City’s comments on the issue later on Thursday.

"We will draft a response soon. The mayor and MMCs are engaged in a council meeting… As soon as they are out of there, we will issue a statement and response," he said. 

In August last year Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said municipal debt had risen to R39 billion as at the end of the company's financial year in March. 

In September Eskom won a R1.3 billion judgment against the Emfuleni Local Municipality over unpaid bulk electricity services.

The utility said the amount was part of a total debt of R1.9 billion which Emfuleni had accumulated in 2019. According to Eskom, at the time, Emfuleni topped the list of Gauteng municipalities with poor payment records, with arrears of more than R3 billion running over 30 days. 



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