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CAPE TOWN - Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane said the Free State province was the biggest defaulter in paying its Eskom bills, as three municipalities in the province owed more than R5 billion to the troubled power utility.

Maimane led a DA picket outside the Free State Premier’s office in Bloemfontein on Thursday to hand over a memorandum demanding the provincial government take immediate action against municipalities failing to pay Eskom bills.

He said: “We, the people, will not continue to pay for the sins of the ANC. This province is the biggest defaulter when it comes to paying its Eskom bills. Maluti A Phofung, Matjhabeng and Ngwathe owe Eskom R2.809 and R1.815 billion and R940 million respectively.”

Maimane said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s 2019 budget speech confirmed on Wednesday that almost five times this amount owing will be allocated each year in bailouts, totaling R69 billion in the medium term.

"South Africa cannot continue to pay for the sins of the ANC in government. This is not a drill, it’s a risk to the very sovereignty of our nation. The ANC’s corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, and mountainous debt has brought South Africa and its economy to its knees on the edge of a fiscal cliff,” he said, adding that the “crisis” was so severe that sovereign credit rating agencies like Moody’s have warned the African National Congress  government that if the state-owned entities (SOEs) like Eskom raised government’s debt burden, South Africa’s credit rating would be downgraded which could lead to another recession that would plunge the country’s economy deeper into darkness.

African News Agency (ANA)