Dihlabeng Municipality says their residents didn’t panic after hearing that their electricity will soon be disconnected.
Eskom has served a notice of terminating electricity on 4 August 2014 at Maluti-a-Phofung in Qwaqwa, Dihlabeng in Bethlehem and Ngwathe municipality, Parys stating that it cannot grant any further extension to debt owed by the three municipalities. According to municipal spokesperson, Tshediso Maitse, they are sure that the matter will be resolved.
“Our community did not panic as a solution will be found that will render the disconnection. Currently the provincial department of treasury, cooperative governance are assisting us and other affected municipalities, to come up with some arrangements that will be acceptable to Eskom, I don’t think the disconnection will happen as solutions will be found,” he said.
The Department of Cooperative, Governance and Traditional Affairs HOD Victor Duma explained that one of the reasons the debts is high id due to Eskom’s interest rate and they are coming up with correct payment plans to ensure municipalities are financially sustainable.
“We are not encouraging municipalities to be irresponsible as they have to pay their dues. Our intervention is based on the reason that when we were looking and studying the areas that were raised by Eskom, that are owed by most of the municipalities, it is not only the failure of paying electricity. Some areas it is because of the penalties that Eskom has given to them to pay,” said Duma.
Maluti-a-Phofung owes R228 million, Ngwathe’s debt is R216 million and Dihlabeng owes Eskom R58 million.