Debt-riddled power utility Eskom says it is ramping up collection efforts and has warned that any municipality that fails to pay its debt will face the seizure of its assets.
On Tuesday the Sheriff of the Court raided the Emfuleni Municipality in Vanderbijlpark in the Vaal, removing municipal property to enforce a judgment for the non-payment of the R615 million debt owed to Eskom.
Last year Eskom said the municipal debt owed to it had ballooned to nearly R20 billion by October 2019.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha says the total amount owed by the Emfuleni Municipality is R2.3 billion.
He says: “The total debt is R2.3 billion as things stand. We have been making attempts to obtain payments unsuccessfully.”
“We have been issuing statements about limiting power supply to certain municipalities and then about entering into repayment plans with those municipalities. Those that do fail to keep their promises in terms of the agreement we make about catching up on their debt, we are going to go through the same process. We are ramping up the collection effort.”
In the video below, the Sheriff of the Court enforces a High Court judgment – removing and attaching property belonging to the Emfuleni Municipality:
The Democratic Alliance(DA) in Gauteng is calling on Gauteng COGTA MEC Lebogang Maile to dissolve the Emfuleni Municipality in the Vaal.
In 2018 Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced that the municipality would be placed under administration but then Emfuleni Mayor Jacob Khawe disputed this.
Maile says the seizure of assets will have a serious effect on service delivery and he is planning to meet both Eskom and municipality management on this.
DA Gauteng leader John Moody says: “Here is a case in point where the MEC should be stepping in and place the municipality under administration. Instead of going after Tshwane but we know this is an ANC run municipality that over the past three terms has been failing to deliver the services that the people of Emfuleni need.”
Eskom says the municipality has failed to pay its electricity account despite numerous demands and that it continues to charge, collect and receive money from its customers for electricity supplied.
The video below looks at municipal debt owed to Eskom:
Briefing Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts in December, previous Eskom Chairperson Jabu 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.
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 2019 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,” Mabuza said.