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Jabu Mabuza: Money owed to Eskom by municipalities continues to rise

Eskom board 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 nearly R30 billion.

FILE: Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza at a press briefing at Lethabo power station. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Parliament wants Eskom to take a hard line with defaulting municipalities and cut off their power.

Officials from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the South African Local Government Association (Salga), and Eskom briefed Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday on the power utility’s rising debt.

Eskom board 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 nearly R30 billion.

“As of October, it’s R26 billion and 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,” he said.

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

“But the issue here is that we are providing a service that has already been given to a user and the user is not paying for that service. Municipalities have provided the service and they have not been paid for it,” she said.

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

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