Issued by: Ross Purdon (MPL)
Shadow MEC for Economic Development, Environmetal Affairs and Tourism:
Eskom is owed more than R160 million in overdue payments by eleven ANC-municipalities in the Eastern Cape. While consumers are living under the constant threat of load shedding, the state electricity supplier is unable to recover debts from local government.
According to the reply to an oral question I asked to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Fikile Xasa at the Bhisho legislature sitting on 4 February, the main culprits were the failed Makana Municipality with an overdue account of R53 521 million, Maletswai with R34 251 million, the bankrupt Gariep municipality with an outstanding bill of R28 063 million and Nxuba owing R27 882 627 as at mid-January 2015.
Placing the Makana Municpality under administration and the controversial appointment of Pam Yako has obviously not had the desired effect, seeing that it is top of the list for outstanding debt.
Citizens of the Eastern Cape are losing all confidence and hope, because the ANC-led Provincial Government is not serious about saving Makana- or any other ANC municipality from complete collapse.
Eight municipalities had accounts outstanding for more than 60 days, seven were outstanding for more than 90 days, and 28 municipalities had overdue accounts of more than 120 days.
With 40% of Eskom’s electricity being sold to municipalities. It is imperative that municipalities must manage their debt and collect monies owed to them. The MEC’s response, that his department advised and encouraged municipalities to pay their accounts is obviously not working. Nor are engagements with provincial treasury.
As energy underpins growth in the economy the DA will continue to put pressure on municipalities to recover all debts owed and to pay their dues. Municipalities must also strive to combat the many illegal connections. The incapacity of these municipalities to manage their finances is blatantly evident. Voters will have the opportunity to stop the current situation of continuing by voting DA in 2016.