Parliament has vowed to deal with staggering debt municipalities owe to Eskom‚ with just 10 defaulting councils owing the power utility close to R10-billion.
The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) said in a statement on Wednesday that it was particularly concerned that “some municipalities who are able to pay are reluctant to do so”. Those municipalities were not named.
Scopa chairman Themba Godi said the committee would also take aim at the 10 biggest defaulting councils‚ and would haul them to Parliament to explain themselves.
“Scopa has also resolved to call the top 10 defaulting municipalities to understand why they are not paying their debt. Scopa notes that the top two defaulting municipalities are in the Free State. They are Maluti A Phofung‚ which owes Eskom R2.8-billion‚ and Matjhabeng‚ which owes R1.8-billion. The others are eMalahleni in Mpumalanga‚ which owes R1.6-billion‚ Ngwathe in Free State owes R936-million‚ Emfuleni in Gauteng owes R606-million‚ Govan Mbeki in Mpumalanga owes R517-million‚ Lekwa in Mpumalanga owes R491-million‚ Thaba Chweu in Mpumalanga owes R431-million‚ Ditsobotla in North West owes R293-million and Naledi in North West owes R280-million‚” he said.
Godi added that the committee had resolved to meet with the inter-ministerial task team to seek a resolution to the challenge presented by defaulting municipalities and the impact they had on Eskom.
“Scopa today met with Eskom‚ the South African Local Government Association (Salga)‚ the Department of Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and the National Treasury in an effort to understand how these various entities can work together to solve this challenge.
“The committee was not satisfied with the responses from the parties‚ particularly on how they can work together to ensure that municipalities pay back their debt to Eskom. Scopa hopes that a meeting with the inter-ministerial task team will provide resolutions‚ particularly as some municipalities who are able to pay are reluctant to do so‚” he said.
The date of the meeting with the inter-ministerial committee was not confirmed.
Matthew Savides – TimesLIVE