ANC PEC blames Eskom for Free State municipality power woes
Durban - The ANC in the Free State province is accusing state-owned power utility company, Eskom, of adopting a “political posture” in the way it treats the issue of the debt of Maluti-a-Phofung municipality.
The party said this in a statement issued on Wednesday to communicate decisions of the meeting of the provincial executive committee held on Monday.
In the statement, the PEC said it was also addressing the issue of the dismal Auditor-General (AG) reports against all the municipalities it is governing. This comes at the background of last month’s AG report indicating that no municipality in the province got a clean audit.
The PEC added that it was already meeting political leadership of the municipalities individually to understand and discuss the recent audit outcomes and is committed to reading the riot act to them.
It then turned to the woes of Maluti-a-Phofung which recently had its bank account attached by Eskom to recover a debt of R5.3 billion which is owed for bulk electricity supplied to the municipality.
Eskom took that route after obtaining a court order in 2018.
“Our concern is the consistency and quality of provision of electricity. We have reflected on the diminishing provision of electricity in the municipality. This is because of various issues; key amongst them is the failure by some community members and businesses to pay their electricity bill and illegal connections in our communities.
The PEC noted the efforts made by the municipality to restore the electricity and payment of its electricity account to Eskom. The PEC has however expressed wrath in the manner Eskom cooperate(s) with the municipality. It has come to the attention of the PEC that Eskom has a tendency to take political posture in dealing with challenges of Maluti-a-Phofung.
This has been demonstrated by the recent unilateral attachment of municipal bank accounts by Eskom. We view this action as an act of intention to destabilise the municipality,” the PEC said, adding that it was also worried with Eskom’s attitude towards Free State municipalities.
In response to these accusations, Eskom spokesperson, Sikonathi Mantshantsha said: “(Eskom has) nothing to say whatsoever.”
It was not only Eskom that was blamed by the PEC for the woes of the municipality but also the provincial and national government spheres were blamed.
“It is the view of the PEC that there is a growing stability in Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality especially after the intervention of national and provincial government and appointment of municipal manager,” the PEC claimed.