The Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality remains top on the list of municipalities owing cash to Eskom in the Free State.
The top three municipalities, which are Maluti-A-Phofung, Matjhabeng and Ngwathe, have a joint debt of over R12-billion.
Maluti-A-Phofung has been struggling to pay Eskom debt for years and has been experiencing constant power outages.
The municipality has confirmed that it has managed to collect R134-million in revenue from industrial parks and businesses in Qwaqwa in the last three months.
Municipal Spokesperson Thabo Kessah says they hope to tackle the debt gradually.
“We are currently in discussions with Eskom as far as our current account is concerned. In fact, in the next few days, we will be paying Eskom just above R50 million as a commitment to show that we want to deal with this debt.”
In March last year, the power utility and Maluti-A-Phofung had reached a deal on how the municipality would repay its debt.
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Meanwhile, Eskom has since revealed that the rising debt of municipalities in the Free State is crippling its service delivery programme.
It says inter-governmental processes they have undertaken to get municipalities to pay their debts are not yielding positive results in the province.
The power utility says the municipalities are failing to pay their current accounts as well as their arrears.
Eskom’s General Manager for the Central-East Cluster, Agnes Mlambo, says municipal debt continues to increase.
“We have been on these discussions and particularly for Maluti-A-Phofung, you will know that the deputy president was involved. To date, unfortunately, it has not borne any fruits in terms of us being able to get money that is due to Eskom. And this is despite the fact that we have arrears for Maluti…our biggest problem is the in fact that the debt continues to increase.”
Vandalism of infrastructure in Matjhabeng
Meanwhile, the Matjhabeng Municipality maintains that vandalism of its electricity infrastructure and sewage network is resulting in a massive financial setback.
This ultimately impacts its ability to pay the over R4-billion Eskom debt.
Matjhabeng says it has been under siege, with many of its electricity transformers being vandalised.
The municipality and Eskom have been in and out of the courts over the payment of electricity bills.