Deputy President Mabuza blames struggling municipalities for Eskom woes

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Deputy President of South Africa David Mabuza at Nedlac sept 2018 (GCIS)
Deputy President of South Africa David Mabuza at Nedlac sept 2018 (GCIS)
  • Deputy President David Mabuza says municipal debt to Eskom is among the "foremost" contributors to service delivery challenges.
  • The Political Task Team on Eskom is handling the matter, Mabuza said.
  • It is also scheduled to meet on Friday to assess progress made on stabilising electricity supply and respond to corruption impacting the power utility - on the back of Eskom seeking to recover R3.8 billion lost to corrupt deals. 

Deputy President David Mabuza has blamed the failure of municipalities to pay their debt to Eskom for ongoing service delivery issues.

In replies to written questions from the National Council of Provinces submitted on 5 August, Mabuza said municipalities experiencing severe electricity challenges were often suffering as a result of usage in excess of the notified maximum demand, as well as a failure to honour debt repayment to Eskom.

These were the "foremost" contributors to service delivery challenges, Mabuza said.

"In this regard, the Political Task Team on Eskom, chaired by the Deputy President, is looking into all the municipalities that are exceeding the contracted demand with a view to resolving the negative impact on communities," the Presidency said on Thursday.

Mabuza said he would be convening the Political Task Team on Eskom in a meeting scheduled for Friday 7 August 2020, focusing on progress made in stabilising electricity supply and responding to corruption impacting the power utility.

This comes on the back of Eskom seeking to recover R3.8 billion from former executives and others due to losses suffered as a result of corrupt deals.

Mabuza also addressed broader questions on initiatives to revive the economy, saying government has been working with constituencies to turn "challenges that arise from the pandemic into opportunities to grow domestic manufacturing".

In line with engagement with constituencies of the National Economic Development and Labour Council – business, labour, community and government – Mabuza stressed the importance of local production of personal protective equipment and the manufacturing of medical equipment and other goods in high demand.

"It is a reality that trade globally has been hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is upon us to strategically use this challenge to grow our domestic economy and prepare citizens to be able to take up opportunities that may arise as global conditions for trade and investment are eased, including investing in the expansion of the country’s e-commerce capacity," Mabuza said.

Mabuza's comments follow Finance Minister Tito Mboweni ending the emergency procurement process for Personal Protective Equipment amid concerns over corruption. Going forward, full details of companies who have been awarded tenders will also be published to increase transparency, Mboweni said on Thursday.

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