This, as Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) is expected to adopt its oversight report following a site visit to Eskom. The Free State province has the highest number of defaulting municipalities and owe the power utility over R9.8 billion, making it the province with the highest Eskom debt.
During a briefing of the members of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), the MEC for Finance, Gadija Brown, last month confirmed that the state of municipalities in the province has become a great concern as they battle to pay billions owed to service providers. She told the delegates that municipalities in the province continue to regress on their audit outcomes as reported by the Auditor-General and that their Eskom debt has escalated from R7.8 billion to more than R9.8 billion, with Maluti-A-Phofung alone owing nearly R4 billion.
She further listed Letsemeng, Masilonyana, Tokologo, Ngwathe, Mafube, and Mohokare as those highly distressed, battling to generate revenue or settle their debts and in high need to develop their recovery plans.
None of the Free State municipalities has managed to obtain a clean audit in the last fiscal year. Her presentation further painted a bleak picture of how Free State municipalities are in dire straits and how those currently under administration, namely the Maluti-A-Phofung, Masilonyana, and Mafube municipalities, continue to plunge into a deeper financial rut.
The report, focusing on Eskom and set to be adopted by Scopa tomorrow, is expected to depict the state-owned enterprise’s ailing state and how it can be rescued, as well as how the various municipalities plan to settle their debt to the power utility.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday said the government will soon make an announcement on how it plans to deal with the debt at Eskom. He made this statement post his address at the 6th annual Financial Times Africa Summit in London, where investors, business people, and decision-makers were gathered.
OFM News/KATLEHO MORAPELA