Picture: for illustration purposes

Eastern Cape Municipalities Owe Eskom R4.7bn in Unpaid Dues

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

The Eastern Cape Municipalities currently find themselves in a sizable debt of R4.7bn to Eskom, the South African power utility company. The startling figures were revealed through a written response by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Zolile Williams, to inquiries made by the Democratic Alliance in the Bhisho Legislature.

Certain municipalities, namely Makana, Great Kei, and King Sabata Dalinyebo, have arranged payment plans with Eskom, which they continue to honour. In an attempt to alleviate this municipal burden, Williams stated that with the assistance of the Provincial Treasury, Cogta has been streamlining applications for debt relief in accordance with a MFMA circular issued by the National Treasury.

Walter Sisulu Local Municipality has already received aid via approved application from the National Treasury. It was also revealed that Dr Beyers Naude Municipality initiated the application process while municipalities including Enoch Mgijima, Inxuba Yethemba, Amathlati, and Raymond Mhlaba are being reviewed by the Province before sending them to the National Treasury.

Contrasting with this, the DA Shadow MEC for COGTA, Dr Vicky Knoetze, expressed that municipal debt towards Eskom had more than doubled over the previous two years, from a little over R2bn in 2021 to the current R4.7bn. According to Dr Knoetze, the largest debtors with outstanding dues of more than 90 days include the Enoch Mgijima Municipality, the Walter Sisulu Municipality, Inxuba Yethemba, and Dr Beyers Naude LM who owe Eskom around R1bn, R526m, R452m, and R407m respectively. Dr Knoetze underscored the urgency of tackling this escalating municipal debt as it poses a significant risk to South Africa's overall fiscal stability.

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