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Des van Rooyen backs Eskom as 13 municipalities face power cuts

Jan 17 2017 07:37

Cape Town – Des van Rooyen, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), has backed calls by Eskom for defaulting municipalities to pay their debts, as the utility said its blackout strategy was making progress.

“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 services,” said Van Rooyen.

“We are confident that provincial governments and municipalities will ensure that the agreement is respected and all actions agreed upon are finalised,” said Van Rooyen. “We urge municipalities to pay for the services they have received – it is the right thing to do.”

This comes as Eskom said that of the 34 municipalities scheduled for supply interruptions during the month of January, Eskom said it has received payments and signed payment plans with 21 municipalities. These municipalities have had their supply interruptions suspended, Eskom said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We are immensely encouraged by the kind of response we are witnessing presently and would like to thank all the municipalities that have made an effort to pay their accounts, and committed to their payment agreements,” said Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko.

Cogta said it had engaged with the defaulting municipalities and Eskom, with agreements being made to repay the debt at MegaWatt Park in Johannesburg last week, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

“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,” the ministry said.

Eskom said it will be monitoring the strict adherence to the payment plans and the payment of current accounts of these municipalities and any defaults will result in the interruption of supply without further notice.

Eskom said it will continue with the supply interruptions of electricity to the Naledi Municipality in the North West Province between 06:00 and 08:00 and 17:00 and 19:30 on Tuesday.

Cogta said it had been engaging with the defaulting municipalities since February 2016, resulting in 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,” it said.

“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.”

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cogta  |  eskom  |  blackouts

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