Debt owed to Eskom may balloon to R36 billion

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Eskom has warned that debt owed is likely to balloon to R36 billion by the end of next year, if municipalities fail to pay.

Chairperson Jabu Mabuza was briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts in Cape Town on the debt owed to Eskom.

Mabuza told the committee that a team of senior ministers mandated to resolve the debt situation between Eskom and municipalities has failed to settle the matter, despite numerous meetings Eskom has been sinking in debt.

It is owed billions by municipalities. The debt keeps escalating despite calls for debtors to pay.

“The unfortunate part is when you look at the statistics, what was owed to Eskom was R9.8 billion in February 2017 as at October it is R26 billion. What is more worrisome chair between March 2019 and September 2019, this debt has gone up by another R6 billion. If one looks at this trend line by the end of the financial year this debt will be at R30 billion. If you look at this trend line this time next year this debt will be R36 billion,” says Mabuza.

However, municipalities put the blame on government departments, business and households.

“We are sitting here now R165 billion owed to municipalities, 77 % household, R10 billion by government departments and R24 billion by business, it’s money that can be collected if there is willingness to pay,” says president of South African Local Government Association’s Thembi Nkadimeng.

Several meetings between Inter-Ministerial Task Team, the defaulting municipalities and Eskom have not yielded any results. Scopa Chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa says it means the Task Team has failed to perform its mandate.

“What is clear the yard stick measure for us on the success of the IMTT (Inter-Ministerial Task Team) would have been reduction in debt, it didn’t happen so as far as we are concerned it was a failure.”

Members of Parliament say there is a clear lack of political will to enforce payment. Click below for more on Eskom: