Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Minister in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell, said that not a single municipality in the Western Cape is behind on payments to Eskom or the relevant water boards.
Bredell instituted an impromptu check of the 30 municipalities in the province following increased concern about municipal debt to Eskom and water boards. Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) will be meeting on the matter on Tuesday 3 December 2019.
The minister said he was heartened to find that none of the municipalities in the Western Cape are currently in danger of having their water or electricity cut off due to non payment.
He added that there was one municipality where there is a long term debt owed to Eskom but that debt already has a payment plan in place that the council is sticking to.
Bredell said there is no excuse for municipalities to not pay the debt strapped state electricity utility Eskom.
He said municipalities get electricity from Eskom at a discounted, fixed rate and then charge an additional overhead tariff to their customers, income which is used by the councils to provide better services to their communities.
The councils are meant to pay over the cost of the goods procured to Eskom and they can use the rest to spend per their approved budgets. But when municipalities start spending it all before paying Eskom or a water board, then they run into trouble
Bredell said indigent communities receive free basic electricity, water, and other services from their municipalities and this should not be used as an excuse by councils for non payment.
More: The South African