Matjhabeng Municipality takes Eskom to court over attachment of bank account

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The Matjhabeng Municipality in the Free State has approached the High Court to try and rescind Eskom’s decision to attach the municipality’s bank account. The municipality says freezing of its bank account is illegal.

The power utility attached the municipality’s bank account after it failed to pay its R3.4 billion of electricity debt. This follows a court order granted to Eskom.

Meanwhile, residents of Matjhabeng Municipality says poor electricity provision is affecting their livelihood.

“You wake up in the morning there’s no electricity but it’s not load shedding either the cable is being stolen or something is wrong. The generator is blown up or transformer is blown up,” says a resident.

“It’s damaging our properties, our materials in the house. Crime is going up because of load shedding or cutting of our system of our electricity,” says another resident.

Dineo Maruping, a resident in Thabong had her shack burned down when power was restored following two hour of load shedding. Maruping says she is left with nothing.

“We had no electricity for two hours. But when the power was restored suddenly my shack was in flames. People who were working alerted of the fire because we were not aware that there was fire,” says Maruping.

Eskom says it’s not worried that the municipality has approached the court. The company says it will explore all legal avenues to recover outstanding debt.

“Eskom is now in the process of establishing what the balance is and transferring the funds into the account to Eskom to help recover some of the money order by the municipality. We will continue to explore all available legal avenues to ensure that outstanding monies are recovered. This step on the part of Eskom followed repeated failures by the municipality to adhere to its payment arrangement to Eskom for electricity,” says Eskom Spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha.

The Matjhabeng Municipality says incorrect allocation of payments by Eskom is the reason why correct payments are not reflecting on its books.

The municipality had issued instructions through its attorneys for Eskom to uplift the attachment on its bank account by end of business on Monday.