Thaba Chweu electricity crisis: MEC must provide clarity on Eskom payment

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

Less than 24 hours remain before the entire Thaba Chweu municipal area is plunged into darkness due to unpaid electricity debts, and Mpumalanga cooperative governance MEC SPD Skhosana must provide proof that Eskom has been paid.

According to reports, Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said that no arrangements have been made to pay the outstanding R146 million debt, and that that the threatened electricity cut would go ahead tomorrow.

This warning comes despite MEC Skhosana’s personal promise to the DA two weeks ago that funds would be sourced and that Eskom would be paid, as well as premier David Mabuza’s announcement last week that the problem would be resolved before the deadline.

It is becoming increasingly clear that both the premier and the MEC have been less than honest with the public, and that more than 100 000 people and an entire local economy are about to suffer devastating losses due to government’s unwillingness to be open and transparent about its response to the crisis.

Should tomorrow’s cut-off go ahead, the consequences will be catastrophic. The entire local economy will come to a standstill as businesses close their doors, service delivery would cease as infrastructure stops running, safety and security will be compromised, and millions upon millions will be lost as consumables and perishables spoil.

It is unfair that members of the public will be forced to suffer these and other losses, despite having paid the municipality for electricity, while the MEC and premier go about their lives of luxury.

The DA will today use any and every means to our disposal to establish whether Eskom has been paid or if any arrangements have been made, and whether the cut-off will go ahead as planned.