Ricochet News

DA demands Makana Local Municipality pays Eskom overdue bill

Oct 23, 2017
DA demands Makana Local Municipality pays Eskom overdue bill

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Makana Local Municipality says the Grahamstown-based authority must urgently take measures to settle its outstanding multimillion Rand debt to power utility, Eskom, "as the financial crisis at the municipality worsens".

"Under the African National Congress (ANC) government, service delivery in Makana Municipality has ground to a halt, with the equitable share grant being used to pay an exorbitant overdue Eskom debt," said Mlindi Nhanha - DA Makana Municipality Caucus Leader.

"Makana Municipality has failed to discharge most, if not all, of its constitutional obligations including servicing its debts, with an amount of R52 million owed to Eskom. Our Municipality has continuously failed to hold up its end of the deal on an agreed-upon payment plan between Eskom and our Council."

Nhanha said that an overwhelming majority of Grahamstown residents pay for their electricity consumption, however revenue generated from electricity sales is redirected to paying R13 million monthly in salaries of a bloated and inefficient workforce.

"We have therefore submitted a motion in this regard, to be debated in the next council meeting. Our motion calls on the municipality to ring-fence all revenue generated from electricity sales to be used to settle the outstanding debt to Eskom," he said.

"In addition, we will continue to make representations to the provincial and national departments of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to step up to the plate and play a greater role in resolving the crisis in Makana.

"The financial crisis of Makana municipality has reached its worst levels ever. We will do everything in our power to ensure that residents of Grahamstown are not adversely affected by the looming interruption of bulk electricity supply set to commence on 8 December 2017 due to the inability of our Municipality to pay the debt."

In September, an executive administrator took reins at the Makana Local Municipality after the Eastern Cape government agreed to intervene in turning around the struggling municipality.