Embattled Emfuleni Municipality needs over R1bn over next 5 years to fix bulk electricity infrastructure

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Eskom wants the embattled Emfuleni Municipality to pay back the money.
Eskom wants the embattled Emfuleni Municipality to pay back the money.
  • Gauteng’s MEC for Human Settlement, Urban Planning and CoGTA Lebogang Maile briefed the media on the energy and water crisis in the province.
  • Maile said that the Emfuleni local municipality needs R1.752 billion over the next three to five years to fix electricity infrastructure.
  • The municipality owes Eskom R1.3 billion unpaid bulk electricity services.

The embattled Emfuleni Municipality will need over R1 billion over the next three to five years in order to fix bulk infrastructure such as electricity substations. 

This was revealed by Gauteng's MEC for Human Settlement, Urban Planning and CoGTA Lebogang Maile on Friday during a briefing on the energy and water crisis in the province.

Maile said that Emfuleni would need R1.752 billion, Rand West City municipality R1.747 billion, Mogale City R731 million and Merafong R296 million in order to repair things such as substations and transformers that are critical for stabilising the electricity supply. 

"From just looking at these few municipalities in the province and the amounts required to fix bulk issues that negatively impact on electricity supply, one can easily get an appreciation of the fact that the solutions are not going to be overnight, even though government has been trying to find some interim measures to relieve stress on aggrieved consumers, citizens of our beautiful province," said Maile. 

READ | Eskom wins judgment against Emfuleni municipality over R1.3 billion debt

Fin24 previously reported that power utility Eskom won a R1.3 billion judgment against the Emfuleni Local Municipality over unpaid bulk electricity services.

When asked where the province would get the money to fix the infrastructure, Maile said: "As you know, there is no money in the country, and the economy is not doing well. Sars is not collecting enough. We need to make sure that we have short, medium and long term (goals) and be realistic. The most important thing is to be realistic about what it is we can do. If people were to pay (for electricity), it would mean they (Eskom) could go and borrow more to invest in the infrastructure."

The MEC said that the City of Joburg had also fixed broken substations in areas where Eskom provided electricity. 

He said:

The City of Joburg said that they would take their money and fix those (broken substations) and they will have to have an arrangement with Eskom on how to get the money back, but that's not sustainable because the City of Joburg does not have an endless resource base.

Maile also gave an update on the province's state of readiness for voter registration which is set to start on Saturday. The province has 2 815 voting stations which include 271 temporary voting stations.

"Yesterday, a status update meeting was held between the provincial government and the IEC in order to discuss Gauteng's state of readiness for the upcoming voter registration weekend whose objectives are the following: Voting stations will officially be opened from 08:00 to 17:00 on both days. However, if there are still voters in the queues at closing time, the IEC has committed that these voters will first be attended," he said. 

Should water and electricity cuts affect voting stations, Maile said that there were contingencies for backup generators and water tanks.

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