The South African National Civic Organization (Sanco) has called on the government to place under its financial administration all municipalities which have failed to pay their overdue debt to national power utility Eskom running into billions of Rand.

Sanco says the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department (COGTA) should invoke section 139 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act to allow intervention by COGTA and the National Treasury so as to avert implementation of regulated interruptions and disconnections which will negatively affect households as well as productivity of businesses..

Sanco national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu expressed disappointment with the 27 municipalities concerned, which are in Free State, North West, Mpumalanga, and Northern Cape Provinces, which owe Eskom 10.2 billion Rand (about 743 million US dollars) to date.

The High Court in Pretoria last Thursday dismissed an urgent application by civil rights lobby group �AfriForum to interdict the scheduled disconnections.

Mahlangu says communities and businesses should not be victimised or suffer inconvenience caused either by alleged maladministration or failure of municipalities to honour their financial obligations. Sound financial management is an enabler for municipalities to deliver quality service delivery.

"Eskom must maintain an effective debt recovery and an early warning system that will ensure that debt levels are kept to a minimum," says Mahlangu.

According to Eskom, the overdue debt has increased tenfold in the past five years with the forecast that the total will be in excess of 12 billion Rand by March 2017.


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