KZN municipalities struggling to meet Eskom payments

Last year, Eskom issued notices to five municipalities in the province, including Mooi-Mpofana in the Midlands, Ulundi, AbaQulusi and éDumbe all in northern KZN. Courtesy #DStv403

DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal authorities say they are helping struggling municipalities to make payment plans with Eskom.

Last year, Eskom issued notices to five municipalities in the province, including Mooi-Mpofana in the Midlands, Ulundi, AbaQulusi and éDumbe all in northern KZN.

Most have made payment arrangements with the exception of the Newcastle Municipality.

Newcastle is the biggest culprit but it's not alone in owing millions to Eskom.

READ: eThekwini Municipality owed over R11bn

One analyst believes the culture of non-payment and lack of consequence management is the problem.

“I think the most important thing is for the ratepayers who really pay for these services to come up with a solution to say look, we want to pay directly to Eskom, possible to even come with a trust where citizens will say this trust has been created to pay directly to Eskom instead of a municipality," said Xolani Dube, an analyst from the Xubera Institute.

Municipalities that made payment arrangements had to revise their budgets and cut some projects.

READ: Municipal services to resume in Westonaria

Newcastle is also adjusting its budget to service the Eskom debt but there are fears this might affect service delivery

“When they apply austerity measures they usually look at other areas that will not compromise service delivery,” said KwaZulu Natal Cogta spokesperson Lennox Mabaso.

“So, service delivery is always a priority and that's what the municipality will be prioritizing at this stage."

Newcastle Municipality and Eskom are set to face-off in court on Thursday over a more than R200-million debt.

Source
eNCA