The Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) blames the withholding of its equitable share by co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), for not paying its Eskom current account of more than R180m.
The Eskom debt was discussed last month during a special council meeting when councillors raised concerns about possible power cuts as a result of the unpaid debt.
Local businesses and individuals have also been speaking out about the matter since the news of the debt broke, fearing imminent electricity interruptions by Eskom.
EMLM entered into a payment agreement with the power utility last year for the same reasons and has been paying its debt, but neglected to make payments on its current account.
The Rep reported (EMLM strikes deal to avoid power cuts, April 6 2018) that
EMLM had signed a
with Eskom to prevent the power utility from implementing power cuts for non-payment of R44m in electricity debt.
The local authority’s spokesman, Gcobani Msindwana, said EMLM had already paid R65m as instructed by Cogta towards last year’s debt as per the payment agreement.
“We must still pay R82m and are making regular payments. The municipality entered into a payment arrangement with Eskom to service the historical debt. We have developed and are implementing the revenue enhancement strategy. Our intention is to turn around the financial situation of the municipality and be able to pay all financial obligations, including Eskom.
“We are servicing our Eskom current account in line with the payment plan and convene regular meetings with the power entity when we give updates on progress made in revenue collection. The last meeting was held in July 2019 with Eskom senior management.”
Msindwana said there had not been any recent threats to cut power by Eskom.
Eskom spokesman Zama Mpondwana indicated the local authority’s current debt was being handled by the attorneys of the two institutions.
“We confirm the ongoing engagements with Enoch Mgijima regarding their current electricity debt. The matter is being handled by the legal teams of the parties involved. Eskom does not disclose the financial details of its customers and stakeholders as per the promotion of administration justice act. However, we reiterate the possibility implementation of electricity supply interruptions to defaulting municipalities.”