Brits -The Madibeng local municipality in North West will be able to settle its debt to Eskom amounting to over R22 million, the municipality said on Tuesday.
“The municipality acknowledges the debt to Eskom and has committed to settle this balance by end February 2016,” said spokesperson Tumelo Tshabalala.
“We were made aware by Eskom on the steps that it needs to take in terms of Promotion of Administrative Justice Act. We have seen the notice from Eskom to the public and that was a process which came as a result of implementing this Act by Eskom,” he said.
“Our commitment to pay does not exempt us from being subjected to such process, hence the notices. We remain positive that we will honour our arrangement. To date, since our engagement with Provincial Treasury and Eskom, we have managed to pay over 50 percent of the debt. We still have time as an institution to remedy the situation and our indication is that we will settle the account as committed.”
On Monday Eskom said it has issued a notice for public participation, inviting all affected parties to submit written representations, comments and/submission indicating why Eskom should or should not continue with the contemplated interruption or disconnection. The closing date for the submission is March 16, with a final decision to be made on March 23.
Power interruptions were planned for March 30.
“Eskom is contemplating a regulated interruption of electricity supply, from 07h00 to 10h00, and from 18h00 to 20h00, as opposed to outright disconnection. After 15 days, should the electricity debt not improve, electricity would be disconnected indefinitely.
“If the municipality fails to settle their outstanding debt we will proceed with disconnection as stipulated in the notice,” Eskom said.
In the notice published in the local newspaper, Brits Pos, Eskom put the outstanding amount at over R22 million.
“Local municipality of Madibeng is currently indebted to Eskom in the amount of R22 721 015.14 for the bulk supply of electricity, part of which has been outstanding and escalating since October 2014,” Eskom said in the notice.
“In terms of both the provisions of Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006 and the supply agreement with Madibeng, Eskom is entitled to disconnect the supply of electricity to defaulting municipalities of which Madibeng is one, on account of non-payment of electricity debt.”
Areas affected by the intended power cut include Brits CBD, Brits town, Brits industrial area, Damonsville, Oukasie, Lethlabile and Elandsrand.
The Democratic Alliance in Madibeng had said it would fight the power cuts by asking Treasury to pay Eskom direct from the municipality’s equitable share.
“We will insist, like we did last year, that National Treasury pay Eskom on behalf of Madibeng out of the equitable share that Madibeng receives from National Treasury.
“We will write a letter to the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan and request his assistance in the direct payment to Eskom,” said Leon Basson MP.