12th August 2014.
In response to my question on how much money
is owed to Eskom by municipalities by end of June 2014, the
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Pravin Gordhan MP, has revealed shocking and worrisome figures.
The Minister has indicated that Eskom is owed
R10bn in arrears by municipalities around the country.
A brief overview:
KwaZulu-Natal municipalities owed R1.27bn,
Limpopo municipalities collectively owed R314m, Mpumalanga
municipalities owed R135m, North West owed R764m,
Northern Cape municipalities owed R225m, and Western Cape municipalities owed R1.27bn.
City Power of the City of Johannesburg owed
R1.075bn, Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Councilís R972 339, City of
Tshwane Metropolitan owes R793 000, The Nelson Mandela Bay
Municipality owed R292m, Buffalo City Metro owed R128m,
eThekwini Metropolitan owed R813m, Msunduzi Municipality owed
R146m and The City of Cape Town Metropolitan owed R873m.
These exorbitant amounts owed to Eskom are an
indication of great failure on the part of municipalities to
manage their debt in an orderly and systematic manner. There is
obvious incapacity in terms of basic financial management.
Even more worrying are the allegations that
municipalities are diverting revenue collected from electricity
rates to other programmes and projects instead of paying off
debts due to Eskom. This narrow-minded financial practice of
robbing Peter to pay Paul is going to collapse both
municipalities and Eskom at the expense of citizens who in turn
bear the brutal brunt of these glaring failures.
The IFP expects the Minister to ensure that
the arrangements in place to have municipalities settle their
Eskom debts by March 2015 materialise. The consumer finds itself
under tremendous financial pressure when Eskom finds itself
compelled to increase its tariffs because of debts owed to it.
I will be writing to the Minister seeking
further clarity on measures being put in place to address this
national crisis; and also to ask to him investigate the reasons
behind this on-going problem and obvious flouting of basic
financial management practices.
Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP Spokesperson on Cooperative Governance and
076 521 3221 or 083 871 2711