Moerane: Areas that owe Eskom billions won’t be the utility’s problem in a year

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the city and Eskom on Wednesday night, which they have been working on for over a year now.

FILE: Community members protested in Snake Park, Soweto, after illegal electricity connections were cut off on 31 January 2018. Picture: @AsktheChiefJMPD

JOHANNESBURG - Joburg Mayor Mpho Moerane on Thursday said he was committing to making sure that in just 12 months, communities like Soweto who owe Eskom billions of rands were no longer the utility's problem.

A memorandum of understanding was signed by the city and Eskom on Wednesday night, which they have been working on for over a year now.

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This will kickstart the process to see areas including Ivory Park, Orange Farm and Sandton getting their electricity from City Power.

Soweto residents alone owe Eskom about R7.5 billion.

Moerane said they wanted to "speed up" the process to make sure residents got uninterrupted electricity supply directly from City Power.

“End of the year, which is two months, is not possible. But it won’t take years.”

Communities are angry over Eskom's so-called load reduction due to the large number of illegal connections in those areas.

Some opposition parties who have their eyes on the City of Johannesburg after the local government elections, like its previous Mayor Herman Mashaba, are hoping the electricity debt crisis won't be used just to score votes.

ActionSA’s spokesperson Lerato Ngobeni said: “For the issues to be resolved now when we are electioneering already should be apparent to the residents of Johannesburg. The only thing that’s going to fix electricity issues all around the country is political will.”

Last week, Eskom said that the signing of the memorandum of understand didn't mean that the handover would happen any time soon, warning that it could take years before these areas were off their books.

WATCH: Soweto’s power woes: ‘Politics, the law or Eskom won’t help us - what should we do?’

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