Lights on, for now

HIGHVELD – The lights will remain on in Govan Mbeki Municipality, at least for now.

Govan Mbeki Municipality has been removed from Eskom’s list of defaulting municipalities and residents have been spared the scheduled power interruptions that would have begun on Monday.

This comes after the municipality, representatives from Mpumalanga Provincial Government and Eskom spent nearly the whole of last week negotiating a deal.

Eskom released a statement on 12 March in which they explained they have suspended the planned interruptions to the Govan Mbeki and the Thaba Chweu Local Municipalities after reaching agreements for the settlements of their electricity debt.


Read more: With less than 20 days left until darkness, the municipality urges debtors to settle their accounts

According to Mr Bheki Kubheka, Govan Mbeki Municipal spokesman, Council had finally reached a debt settlement agreement with Eskom at a meeting held between the municipality and Eskom on 9 March.

In light of the above, an extra ordinary council meeting was scheduled for 14 March to approve the repayment plan through a council resolution as requested by Eskom.

“We are very pleased with this progressive development, as it secures the electricity supply to municipalities while ensuring that they honour their debts. Eskom will continue to work with all municipalities in developing long-term sustainable plans that will ensure municipalities stay out of the debt trap,” said the group executive for Customer Services at Eskom, Ms Ayanda Noah.

The statement also talks about the dangers of defaulting on the new agreement:

“Eskom is obliged to supply electricity on a financially sustainable basis.

“Should the municipality fails to honour the terms of the payment-agreement, Eskom reserves the right to implement the power interruptions within 7 (seven) days of the breach.”

Read more: Less than 288 hours to darkness and still no answers from municipality

Municipal customers are encouraged to engage with their supply authorities for updated information on their municipalities’ arrears situation.

Mr Kubheka stressed that the debt crisis as a whole has not been resolved and the municipality is going ahead with its debt collection operations.

“Residents and businesses who owe the municipality will face zero tolerance and have their electricity cut should they not settle their accounts.

“The executive mayor is serious about sorting out this debt crisis and asked residents and business owners do the right thing.

“As much as Eskom has suspended the power interruption, the elephant still remains in the room and requires the community and all stakeholders to partner with the municipality by playing their role and ensuring that they pay their accounts on time and in full.

“If you owe the municipality for a period in excess of 30 days, please come forward and make arrangements to pay the stipulated amount in terms of the council’s policy.

“Operation Kodiko is in full swing and those who fail to pay their services, will face cut-offs.”

Also see: 32 days to go, no progress with Eskom debt

Also see: Darkness looms


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Willemien Aukema

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