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Eskom can collect the revenue for the local authorities to settle their R38bn debt to the utility

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File picture: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

The deputy president says municipalities could cut down on the money they owe to Eskom, if the power utility can collect revenue for municipalities and take what is due to them.

DEPUTY President David Mabuza says municipalities could cut down on the money they owe to Eskom, if the power utility can collect revenue for municipalities and take what is due to them.

This is part of the solution they were implementing in Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality in the Free State, which was owing Eskom billions of rand.

Mabuza said Eskom was now distributing electricity in the municipality and collecting revenue on behalf of the municipality, but took what was due to them and gave the remainder to the municipality.

This was after Mabuza told Parliament the money municipalities owed Eskom had increased to R38 billion.

Mabuza said Eskom insists on getting the money and were working with municipalities to find a way to pay it.

Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality in the Free State had the largest amount owed to the power utility, which led to a court battle between Eskom and the municipality.

However, Mabuza told Parliament that Eskom wants the R38bn in full. He said there were more than 20 municipalities across the country who owe Eskom R38bn.

“We have got almost R40bn owed. We are going to insist that Eskom wants that money,” said Mabuza.

The tug of war over the money owed to Eskom by municipalities has been going on for some time now, with the government trying to fix the problem.

“There are more than 20 municipalities that account for R38bn debt to Eskom. This includes the known Maluti-a-Phofung.

“There were court judgments… And these court judgments were saying Eskom must distribute electricity and Eskom can collect the revenue. We think that is the best option going forward with municipalities owing Eskom,” said Mabuza.

Political Bureau

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