CoGTA Urges Municipalities to Honour Their Agreement with Eskom

It is important for Municipalities across the country to always service their bulk

accounts so that they do not prejudice those community members within their space who pay

for their servicesrdquo;, said Minister Des van Rooyen. The Minister was responding to

the current challenges that some municipalities are faced with regarding their Eskom

accounts.

The Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs engaged all

municipalities that are currently owing Eskom last year from February � April 2016. This

engagement followed a realisation that these municipalities owed Eskom for the bulk

services it was providing. The outcomes of these engagements were an agreement with

short, medium to long-term actions. On short term, Eskom and Municipalities entered into

a credible payments agreement to service their debts.

Even though a number of interventions were put in place to curb the debt levels,

including monitoring the implementation of the action plans, it became clear that some

municipalities are continuing to default from CoGTA brokered agreement entered with

Eskom.

To this effect, Eskom issued the defaulting Municipalities with supply agreement

breach of notices which were to be followed-up by disconnection notices. Eskom informed

communities within the spaces of those municipalities that there will be disconnection

and how it will be done.

Subsequent to that, Afriforum took Eskom to court in a bid to stop the power

utility from cutting electricity. But the court ruling supported Eskom's resolution to

cut electricity to the defaulting municipalities. The Ministry of CoGTA again engaged in

discussions with Eskom on its intention to disrupt power supply to the owing

Municipalities and agreed that the respective Provincial Government's should be appraised

ahead of the 16th January 2017 deadline.

Minister Des van Rooyen met with Premier of Bokone Bophirima and Eskom Executive

on 12 January 2017 to look at the how many municipalities were still in arrears and what

could by the solution. At the time of this meeting, the Province had already held a

meeting with respective Municipalities on 22 December 2016 to discuss the matter. To that

effect, most of the Municipalities in Bokone Bophirima honoured their December payments.

The Ministry and the department held another meeting on 13 January 2017 with the

Free State Province represented by DG in the Premier's office and the HOD of COGTA at

Megawatt Park. It also emerged that Free State Provincial government had already

discussed the matter and some of the Municipalities in the province were paying. The CEO

of Eskom reiterated that power supply will be interrupted in all municipalities that

would not have honoured their due accounts.

The agreement reached with the owing Municipalities was that they should pay

arrears and the current Eskom account between the 12 and 15 January 2017.

The Accounting Officers and Executing Authorities of municipalities have the

responsibility to ensure that municipalities honour their agreements that they entered

with Eskom and other credit providers in their space.

We are confident that Provincial governments and Municipalities will ensure that

the agreement is respected and all actions agreed upon are finalised - We urge

municipalities to pay for the services they have received � it is the right thing to

dordquo;, said Minister van Rooyen.

Source: Republic of South Africa

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