eMalahleni’s Eskom debt increases by R1.2 billion in 12 months

eMalahleni's Eskom debts increase by R1.2 billion in 12 months
SPIRALING DEBT: eMalahleni's Eskom debt has ballooned over R5bn as the municipality struggles to keep up payments to the power utility. PICTURE BY bravura

The total money being owed is R5.5 billion and it keeps going up and up.

eMalahleni municipality’s Eskom debt has increased by R1.2 billion in a space of just 12 months. By June last year, the ailing municipality owed the power utility R3.9 billion.

Now the municipality owes Eskom R5.1 billion, which it continues to fail to pay.

The Mpumalanga municipality was charged R140-million in interest on the R5.1 billion debt.

DA legislature member Trudie Grovè-Morgan said the R140-million alone can produce close to 1000 RDP houses for the poor in the eMalahleni area.

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Grovè-Morgan said they will write to co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and ask for her intervention in the province’s worst run municipality.

“Throughout the years, this municipality was plagued by an inherent failure to collect revenue from the sale of services such as water, electricity, refuse removal and the like,” Grovè-Morgan said.

“Thus we find it extremely concerning that despite numerous interventions which were aimed at improving revenue collection in this municipality, monies which were owed by debtors increased to R5.7 billion as at the end of June 2021,” she said.

Grovè-Morgan said it was clear the people in charge of the municipality are not serious about working for people.

“If the municipality was able to capitalise on monies owed to it, the municipality would have been able to settle the debt to Eskom and also improve the lives of the residents in this municipality.

“The DA understands the financial and governance challenges faced by eMalahleni local municipality such as population growth, low infrastructure maintenance rates, low revenue collection – hence we ask the minister Dlamini-Zuma to help them with strategies of improving their revenue collection and to ensure that there is an equitable share in the revenue that will result in their long-term financial independence and viability,” said Grovè-Morgan.

(edited by MLM)

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