Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency (ANA)
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: Dimpho Maja/African News Agency (ANA)

Scopa left fuming after ministers ditch meeting on municipalities' debt to Eskom

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Oct 22, 2019

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Cape Town - The Standing Committee on Public Accounts has sent packing a team of officials from a meeting to discuss billions of rands owed to Eskom by municipalities. 

MPs were left fuming after Ministers failed to show up for the meeting on Tuesday and described their behaviour as unacceptable. Minister of Cooperative Governance Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan did not attend the meeting with Scopa. 

Dlamini Zuma chairs the Inter-Ministerial task team on the defaulting municipalities. Several municipalities owe Eskom almost R20 billion. Scopa chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said they will not allow the meeting to continue as Ministers did not indicate they will not make it. He said Dlamini Zuma should have been present. 

She had indicated she was going to attend the meeting, but was going to leave early. 

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

"The Minister last night indicated she wanted to leave early. Even this apology I take it with a pinch of salt," said Hlengwa. 

Other Scopa members said it would not be possible to continue with the meeting because of the absence of Ministers who had answers on defaulting municipalities. 

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Hlengwa said they were disappointed the meeting cannot continue because the country was also affected by load-shedding. He said this was the most critical time in the country as Eskom is unable to contain its debt and load-shedding was adding to the crisis. Scopa said it would not be able to discuss such pressing matters with officials. 

Political Bureau

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