All eyes on Maluti-A-Phofung

All eyes will be on the Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality on Wednesday morning, when it briefs the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on its state of affairs.

OFM News reports that the cash-strapped municipality, infamous for its huge Eskom debt, lack of water supply, and political instability, will this morning be scrutinised in the provincial legislature.

Following a briefing given by the Matjhabeng Local Municipality on Tuesday on how it is grappling to settle its debts and collect revenue, expectations are high that Maluti-A-Phofung will share similar views.

The eastern Free State municipality made national headlines this year over its respective water and electricity crisis.

At the beginning of the year, it made news over its water crisis when residents went up in arms over lack of water supply following the tragic death of an eight-year-old Mosa Mbele who drowned in the river when she went to fetch water.

This saw Water and Sanitation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, pledging more than R200 million and 5 000 water tanks to the municipality to address its water crisis.

Whilst water challenges in the area continues, the municipality again made news last month after Eskom attached its bank accounts in efforts to recover over R5.4 billion owed to them.

The utility’s Free State spokesperson, Stefanie Jansen van Rensburg, said this step came as a result of the municipality’s repeated failure to adhere to its payment obligations in the execution of a court order granted in 2018, as well as in the implementation of Eskom’s revenue recovery plan.

Maluti-A-Phofung and Matjhabeng account for over 50% of the R12 billion Eskom debt owed by Free State municipalities, making it the province with the highest debt and the one with the highest number of defaulting municipalities.