Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Eskom Suspends Cuts in South African Municipalities
December 23, 2015 0 20

Eskom has reached an agreement not to cut off electricity to the four municipalities in arrears of more than R150m.

This after a partial payment of R15m was made late on Tuesday, according to department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson Mamkeli Ngam.

“After all the negotiations held on Tuesday, Eskom decided to restore electricity to the four municipalities. However, a special executive council meeting will be held as a matter of urgency in the next financial year to discuss further on the matter,” Ngam said.

The affected municipalities are Gariep, Maletswai, Ikhwezi and Nxuba, which owed Eskom a combined total of R173m.

The intervention by Eastern Cape Premier Phumullo Masualle and the provincial government resulted in partial payment of the sum owed and a commitment to a payment plan for the settlement of the remainder of the debt.

Eastern Cape provincial spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said they decided to engage in the matter because they did not want people to have a dark Christmas.

“We do not want our people to experience a black Christmas and we want to make sure that the economy does not get affected,” Kupelo said.

Electricity supply was also restored to Steynsburg, Aliwal North, Jansenville, Adelaide and Bedford towns under the Gariep, Maletswai, Ikhwezi and Nxuba local municipalities.

Eskom was planning to interrupt the power supply three times a day during peak hours from 6am to 9am, 12am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm.

Senior Eskom officials thanked Masualle and the provincial government for their intervention and said it would continue to work with the stakeholders to find sustainable solutions to municipal debt challenges.

Ngam said: “We will form a new municipality that will make sure that the Eskom bill will be settled and does not fall into debt again. This will ensure its sustainability.”

Mandisa Magwaza

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