Sheriff attaches FS municipality's assets over unpaid R2.8bn Eskom bill
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Free State - Eskom has attached Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality’s movable assets over an unpaid power supply debt of R2.8 billion.
On Wednesday, the municipality issued a statement confirming that the office of the Sheriff was at the municipality premises to carry out a writ of execution obtained by Eskom for outstanding payments and also attached their assets.
The assets include vehicles and office furniture.
The municipality’s Media and Communications manager Kedibone Sentle said the writ of execution follows a legal process which started in 2014.
“In 2014 Eskom issued a notice to interrupt the distribution of electricity supply and the municipality approached the court with an application to interdict that planned interruption of electricity service.
“This matter has been in and out of court since 2014 and on December 16 2017, the court ordered the municipality to enter into a repayment agreement for the outstanding debt which amounted to R2.4bn at that time,” Sentle added
Sentle said the draft payment plan was discussed between the municipality and Eskom and no agreement was reached as Eskom demanded a full payment.
“The average monthly revenue collection from the sales of electricity is approximately R22 million which is far less than the average monthly account of Eskom,” she added
Some of the laptops belonging to the Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality. Picture: EFF Free State Twitter
Following the municipality’s failure to pay the debt, Eskom approached the courts in October 2018 to obtain a writ of execution.
Sentle said on 23 January 2019, the sheriff served the municipality with the notice of attachment and attached various municipality’s moveable assets.
Sentle added that the administrator at the municipality is engaging with both the provincial and national government departments for guidance and assistance, and progress will be provided in due course.
“The municipality is burdened in servicing the Eskom debt mainly, due to the tampering of electricity meter boxes, illegal electricity connections, vandalisation of bulk and reticulating electricity infrastructure and sabotage to these infrastructure,” Sentle said
“The municipality is strengthening its credit control measures to ensure that communities pay for services it receives, “ she added
Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe could not comment on the matter as the attachment has been done by the sheriff of the court and not the power utility. However, he confirmed that the municipality owes them over R2.8 billion and that they not have not cut the power off.
Maluti-A-Phofung municipality came under spotlight last week when its chief financial officer and expenditure manager were arrested for charges of fraud and corruption relating to a R4.6 million security tender.