Mpumalanga Premier plans to end Eskom municipal marriage

A marriage between Eskom and government could come to an end very soon if a coordinating forum in Premier David Mabuza’s office discusses it further when it meets next week.

The Premier’s Coordinating Forum scheduled for next week Wednesday will discuss further whether a business marriage between Eskom and the provincial government was still viable.

Mabuza had previously cried foul over the terms of the marriage which he said was resulting to huge financial burdens on the province’s municipalities.

A provincial executive council meeting on Wednesday this week resolved the matter will now be given to the forum.

“The executive council is of the view once again that Eskom must be entrusted with the responsibility to efficiently distribute and sell electricity as most of our municipalities do not have the requisite capacity to efficiently manage the distribution of electricity.

“This is largely due to the fact that municipalities have a very low revenue collection rate and in most instances, municipalities do not have the mechanisms to address the issue of illegal electricity connection,” spokesman in the Premier’s office Zibonele Mncwango said in a statement.

“This results in the municipalities being subjected to severe financial pressure due to the continuous penalties owed to Eskom over and above the principal debt,” said Mncwango.

The Mpumalanga government owes over a R1 billion to Eskom in “onerous and untenable” Eskom payment terms.

During February this year’s Coordinating Forum in Mbombela; Mabuza said: “The Eskom payment terms are onerous and untenable for the municipalities and they need to be reviewed, otherwise we will have no option as a province but to pull out of business arrangements with Eskom”.

(edited by MLM)

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