‘It's critical for all municipalities to institute prepaid billing’

Lynne Brown says it's critical for all municipalities to institute prepaid billing to help build a payment culture in communities.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown says it's critical for all municipalities to institute prepaid billing to help build a payment culture in communities.

Brown has instructed Eskom to give municipalities until the end of this month to pay off their debt before switching off their lights.

At the same time she's urged municipalities to move quickly to collect money.

Earlier this month, the High Court in Pretoria granted the utility permission to cut power supply to several towns.

The minister says the cutting of power could be disastrous.

“So we have got to work on a plan that’s a lot more sustainable. There must be a council resolution that the council must act on.”

Eskom has signed agreements with 21 of the 34 defaulting municipalities to recoup unpaid bills worth R10.2 billion.

There were concerns that the cuts could impact negatively on businesses and industries.

Eskom says that municipalities that have made arrangements to pay their bills, will no longer face cuts.

Eskom says it's hoping that arrangements can be made with the remaining municipalities.

To understand how municipal spending has had a direct impact on service delivery, including the provision of water and electricity, visit EWN’s Municipal Audit Portal.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)