Eskom and Govan Mbeki Municipality reach agreement, power will not be interrupted

(Stock photo)

Eskom said in a statement yesterday, 10 April that the planned power interruptions from 16 April will no longer take place after a payment agreement was reached between Eskom and Govan Mbeki Municipality.

This does not however mean the municipality is completely let off the hook.

“Should the Govan Mbeki Municipality not honour the payment agreement entered into, the implementation of scheduled supply interruptions will resume within a 14 days’ notice,” the statement reads.

Also read: Dark days ahead for Govan Mbeki Municipal residents as load shedding looms

The planned power interruptions came after the council failed to honour the repayment plan agreement entered into with Eskom in January.

The municipality apparently owed Eskom more than R500 million and R13 million for bulk electricity supply, part of which had been outstanding and had been escalating since 2003.

The Ridge Times is awaiting new comment from Eskom and the municipality.

Executive mayor

Ms Thandi Ngxonono, executive mayor of Govan Mbeki Municipality, said last week she was  convinced that Eskom would not implement its planned bulk power interruption scheduled for 16 April.

She said Council had an urgent meeting with Eskom on Friday, 6 April after a public notice from Eskom was circulating on social media stating that Eskom will implement bulk power interruptions from 16 April.

“Govan Mbeki Municipality takes full cognizance and is fully committed towards servicing its debt to Eskom, both old and current accounts, as per the agreement entered into. The meeting we had was aimed at resolving the existing dispute on the amount published, as well as finding a solution about the power disruption as published by Eskom.

“At this meeting a number of resolutions were taken during with the aim of avoiding the power disruption of which the municipality will comply as committed and thus we are convinced that the power will not be disrupted.”

Opposition parties and locals have slammed the municipality for the Eskom problem.

They said this is due to mal-administration and corruption by officials and politicians.

Outa

Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) sent a letter to Govan Mbeki Municipality regarding the electricity crisis in the area.

The letter was directed to Ms Ngxonono and Mr Thisha Mhlanga, acting municipal manager, and other senior leaders in the province and national received copies of the letter.

Outa believes Govan Mbeki Municipality is either reluctant to admit that it has financial problems or is unaware of the financial demise.

Mr Michael Holenstein, manager of the Local Government Initiative, said in the letter that the constitution provides for circumstances in which a municipality, as a result of a crisis in its financial affairs, is in serious or persistent material breach of its obligations to provide basic services or to meet its financial commitments, or admits that it is unable to meet its obligations or financial commitments.

“In such circumstances, the relevant provincial executive is under an obligation to intervene by imposing a recovery plan aimed at securing the municipality’s ability to meet its obligations to provide basic services or its financial commitments. Such a recovery plan binds the municipality in the exercise of its legislative and executive authority, but only to the extent necessary to solve the crisis in its financial affairs.

“Should a municipality be unable to give effect to such recovery plan by approving the necessary legislative measures, the provincial executive must dissolve the municipal council and appoint an administrator until a newly elected municipal council has been declared elected.

“If the municipal council is not dissolved, the provincial executive must assume responsibility for the implementation of the recovery plan to the extent that the municipality cannot or does not otherwise implement the recovery plan.”

Mr Holenstein said it would also appear that despite having access to the monthly returns from the municipality, that no one at provincial level is aware of the serious financial demise of the municipality.

“Due to non-payment of electricity and the failure of the municipality to honour the terms of the agreed repayment plan, Eskom gave notice to the municipality and the community about the interruption of bulk electricity interruptions which will have severe material and adverse effects on the local economy, the environment and the community at large.

“The solution to this problem would be the introduction of a detailed financial recovery plan to illustrate the short, medium and long-term claw back to normalising the situation.”

The organisation called on Ms Ngxonono to indicate in writing by close of business on 11 April the steps she is going to take to prevent the disruption of bulk electricity in the area.

Govan Mbeki Municipality said the Eskom debt still remains a gigantic task for the municipality and therefore called upon the community to ensure that they pay what is due to the municipality and report illegal connections and theft of electricity to the municipality at 0800 600 001/2/4.

 

 

 

  AUTHOR
Ridge Times

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