By Jacqueline Theologo (MPL), DA Spokesperson on Local Government and Human Settlements:
The Democratic Alliance in Ditsobotla is concerned after the municipality defaulted on its agreed R2.5 million, monthly down payment to Eskom to prevent the power supply being cut.
The municipality owes Eskom nearly R121 million.
The DA was informed at a council meeting on 9 September 2015 that the power might be cut this week.
According to the agreement signed in April, Eskom has the right to take legal action against the municipality and even cut off electricity supply if the agreement is not honoured.
Electricity cuts will have a negative influence on the operation of small businesses and is an unnecessary inconvenience to residents who pay their dues. Lichtenburg also hosts big cement mines and various agricultural companies that might be influenced.
This town was recently hit by a severe hail storm where anchor businesses and small businesses alike suffered severe damage. Being left without electricity will deal a further blow to this town’s economy.
Furthermore Lichtenburg is reliant on boreholes for their water supplies. These boreholes won’t operate once the power is cut, while areas such as Itsoseng has reservoirs for water supply, but only one is functional the other newly erected one has never worked due to cracks in the reservoir.
These power cuts by Eskom due to the negligence of the Ditsobotla Municipality would also contravene the resident’s basic Constitutional Right of access to water.
The Ditsobotla Municipality has also agreed to repay the debt by using a portion of its Equitable Share from the Provincial Government, money given to municipalities to meet its socio-economic imperatives and provide basic services to the poor.
The DA will write to MEC Collen Maine, to demand clarity why the agreed monthly down payments were not honoured to Eskom.
The DA will also seek clarity into why a portion of the Revenue Fund is being used to repay Eskom whilst the residents of Ditsobotla continue to pay for electricity