Problems at municipalities stem from 'governance issues', Scopa told

Scopa met with the top ten defaulters to Eskom on Wednesday to get to the bottom of the billions the parastatal is owed.

A screengrab of Scopa chairperson Themba Godi at a meeting in Parliament.

CAPE TOWN – Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has heard that at least two thirds of the problems experienced by struggling municipalities stem from political governance issues.

Scopa met with the top ten defaulters to Eskom on Wednesday to get to the bottom of the billions the parastatal is owed.

On Thursday, the committee is set to meet with the inter-ministerial team tasked with ensuring the debt gets paid.

Municipalities have told Parliament that besides high levels of unemployment, there's a general unwillingness from consumers to pay for services.

Many are also refusing to have prepaid electricity meters installed, and municipalities are losing thousands through illegal connections and ghost vending.

Municipal managers say their high salary bill, often for staff incapable of doing the job, was leaving little for service delivery and paying their debts to Eskom.

Cooperative Governance Director-General Dan Matshitiso says: “On average we found that 30% have a problem with administrative matters. But then 70% is on the political governance.”

Municipalities have told Parliament that they will never be able to settle their debts to Eskom unless the parastatal waives the interest costs.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)