Electricity crisis is looming for Govan Mbeki Municipality in October – mayor

Ms Flora Maboa-Boltman (executive mayor) admits that the Govan Mbeki Municipality is defaulting the Eskom payment plan.

Ms Flora Maboa-Boltman, executive mayor, said despite the council’s hard work to try to pay Eskom, the Govan Mbeki Municipality might be facing a serious electricity problem in October.

The mayor said this is due to the culture of not paying for services by residents and big businesses.

She said this is crippling the municipal financially.

Ms Maboa-Boltman was speaking at a special council meeting that was held on Thursday, 27 July.

Eskom debt not paid

The municipality’s total debt to Eskom is more than R300-m and council entered into an agreement with Eskom to pay off its outstanding debt earlier this year.

The municipality agreed to pay R100-m immediately when the agreement was signed and to settle the R252 030 429 by 31 December, and to also ensure that monthly payments are made timeously.

The municipality however failed to honour the agreement.

Ms Maboa-Boltman said she has made an effort to collect the money through Operation Kodiko in March when councillors and senior staff members were deployed to ask businesses and private residents to settle their outstanding debt, however the operation received a lot of criticism.

DA not pleased

The Democratic Alliance was not pleased with the mayor’s utterances and said the municipality is drowning in debt due to the ANC’s stubbornness and ignorance.

Mr Nicholaas van Huyssteen, DA councillor, said his party has on numerous occasions indicated that the ANC is careless with regards to its finances and is failing to collect debt.

He said his party has called on the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Refilwe Mtshweni, to urgently institute a financial recovery plan for Govan Mbeki Municipality due to the unsustainable financial state of the municipality.

“The municipality is failing to pay for its bulk electricity purchases from Eskom and is now defaulting on its arrangement to pay off the outstanding debt. We are in a crisis and will experience more crises because the ANC-led municipality is failing to execute its mandate. It looks like they do not care about the financial state of the municipality and instead of focusing on the matter, they want to continue appointing contractors and giving tenders.

“They are not managing their finances right and that is why we are having these problems.”

Ms Maboa-Boltman encouraged councillors to pay their service accounts and to encourage the community to do so as well, as it the only solution to this problem.

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  AUTHOR
Sifiso Mathebula
Journalist

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