MEC Bentley Vass called on “step up to the plate and ensure that sustainable solutions are implemented to ensure that municipalities stop defaulting on their Eskom debt”
THE DA has made an urgent appeal to Northern Cape Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs MEC Bentley Vass to ensure that all four of the debt-ridden municipalities due to have their power disconnected by Eskom on Wednesday are spared this ordeal.
Due to collective municipal arrears amounting to more than R280 million, Eskom plans to shut down the bulk electricity supply to Tsantsabane, Emthanjeni, Kamiesberg and Richtersveld local municipalities.
“If Northern Cape municipalities are not careful, they could soon be faced with a situation whereby Eskom starts attaching municipal farmland as security for unpaid municipal debt, as has been the case in the Free State,’’ Willie Aucamp, the DA constituency head of Kalahari, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Whilst it remains uncertain as to which of the other municipalities have thus far managed to successfully renegotiate their payment deals with Eskom, the DA is aware that at least Tsantsabane Municipality has so far failed to make a new payment arrangement with Eskom.
“In effect, the people of Postmasburg will start experiencing 12-hour shifts of load shedding starting from tomorrow (Wednesday) if no intervention is forthcoming before then.
“This is deeply disappointing and worrying and signifies a dire lack of political will on the part of municipalities to actually stick to their payment plans.
“The DA has time and again drawn attention to the fact that more and more municipalities are wilfully failing to adhere to the conditions of their agreements.
“The DA is reiterating our previous pleas to Vass to step up to the plate and ensure that sustainable solutions are implemented to ensure that municipalities stop defaulting on their Eskom debt.
“If this means ring-fencing the funds and having provincial Treasury administer these funds, then so be it. We simply cannot continue on the same dark and broken path any more.”