Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality in the Free State can breathe a sigh of relief after Eskom partially released funds from its bank account to allow the municipality to render services.

This week the power utility managed to successfully attach the municipality’s bank account after it failed to honour a payment arrangement.

Maluti-a-Phofung owes Eskom more than R5-billion. It is the first municipality in the country to have its bank account attached for failure to pay.

Eskom has in the past attached movable properties and disconnected electricity to owing municipalities.

“Eskom has agreed to release R90 million to allow the municipality to pay the salaries of its workforce and to meet other running costs. The bank account currently has a balance of R220 million and was attached by Eskom on July 21 in execution of a court order granted in 2018 to help Eskom recover unpaid debt by the municipality. The balance in the account will remain attached until a repayment agreement that meets Eskom’s requirements has been concluded or until the court rules otherwise,” says Eskom Spokesperson, Sikhonathi Mantshantsha.