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Eskom cuts power to Willowmore, Jansenville and Steytlerville over unpaid debt

Apr 11, 2019
Eskom cuts power to Willowmore, Jansenville and Steytlerville over unpaid debt

Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality had promised to pay Eskom

Graaff-Reinet  - Power utility, Eskom, has reportedly cut electricity supply to the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality over unpaid debts.

Dr Beyers Naudé Local Municipality is a new local municipality that was established by merging the Camdeboo, Ikwezi and Baviaans local municipalities.

Power was reportedly cut on Thursday leaving residents in the towns of Willowmore, Jansenville and Steytlerville  in the dark. The power cut is after the Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality failed to honour its commitments to Eskom.

The municipality currently owes Eskom close on R95-million and has failed to remedy the breach of payment agreement, despite Eskom’s notice issued in October last year.

Thursday is apparently the beginning of the disruptions, with power switched off from 6am to 9am, and again from 5pm to 8:30pm. Next week the disruption is scheduled to escalate to 14 hours a day, from 6am to 8pm.

Power cuts to affect residents and businesses in Dr Beyers Naude Local Municipality 

"Hundreds of small businesses in these towns, who have bought and paid the municipality for the electricity they have used, will now be forced to close shop because the municipality did not pay the money over to Eskom," said Democratic Alliance Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga.

"The extended power cuts threaten other basic services, like water and sewage, as the pumps cannot function without electricity.  Hospitals and clinics will be unable to provide healthcare.

"Thousands of people from these towns will be forced to sit at home, without work, without water or basic sanitation. Children will be forced to go to school and sit in darkened classrooms."

He calimed that the African National Congress (ANC) had turned its back on the people of Dr Beyers Naude.

DA Shadow MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Vicky Knoetze (MPL), appealed to Eastern Cape CoGTA MEC, Fikile Xasa, as well as the CEO of Eskom, Phakamani Hadebe, to urgently intervene in the matter. Read the letters here and here.

"There has been deliberations between stakeholders since Monday, but despite this, Eskom has begun with the disruptions. The DA has learnt that Eskom is requesting a payment of R27-million, for it to discontinue the interruptions," Bhanga said.

"We have submitted numerous proposals to the council in Dr Beyers Naude, including the selling off of infrastructure back to Eskom, but the failing ANC government simply refuses to implement these measures.

"Rather than put the people of the municipality first, they continue to spend ringfenced funding on a bloated administration and look for handouts in the form of grants from the Sarah Baartman District Municipality to solve the problem.

"These blackouts are killing jobs and making life harder for South Africans."

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