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Eskom pleads with Salga, municipalities to pay R20bn debt

The utility's debt has escalated by over R20 billion in just a few years, with chairperson Jabu Mabuza saying debt owed to the company stood at only R1.3 billion in 2013.

File: Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Eskom has pleaded with the South African Local Government Association (Salga) and the country's municipalities to settle their electricity debt.

The utility's debt has escalated by over R20 billion in just a few years.

Officials from Eskom, Salga and the Department of Cooperative Government briefed Parliament's standing committee on public accounts earlier on Tuesday.

Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza said overdue debt owed to the company stood at only R1.3 billion in 2013.

Fast forward six years, that figure now stands at over R20 billion.

“As of October, it’s R26 billion. What’s more worrisome is that between March 2019 and September 2019, this debt has gone up by another R6 billion. If one looks at this trend line, by the end of the financial year, this debt will be at R30 billion.”

But Salga president Thembi Nkadimeng said municipalities were also victims of non-payment by users.

“But the issue here is we are providing a service that has already been given to a user and the user is not paying for that service. That’s what we’re talking about today. So, municipalities have provided the service and they have not been paid for it.”

Eskom’s repeatedly threatened to flip the switch on defaulting municipalities.