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Municipalities owe Eskom billions, says rights group

Sapa

AfriForum claims that certain municipalities owe Eskom over R2.3-billion, which, according to it, "adds to the country's electricity woes".

Eskom introduced emergency rostered power cuts, called load shedding, to prevent a collapse of the national power grid. (Gallo)

Power utility Eskom was owed more than R2.3-billion by various municipalities, civil rights organisation AfriForum said on Tuesday.

"While the country has seen a week of rolling blackouts, municipalities owe Eskom more than R2.3-billion," spokesperson Tiaan Esterhuizen said in a statement.

"The outstanding debt adds to the country's electricity woes."

He said Mpumalanga's municipal debt to Eskom was more than R800-million, while municipalities in the Free State owed more than R570-million.

"Taxpayers pay their accounts every month but are left without power as a result of poor financial management by municipalities," said Esterhuizen.

On Tuesday, Eskom chief executive Brian Dames said the country's power supply remained constrained.

The power utility introduced emergency rostered power cuts, called load shedding, to prevent a collapse of the national power grid because coal supplies for electricity generators were wet.

Privatisation
Esterhuizen said municipalities that failed to pay their accounts should have their licences to supply electricity revoked.

He said electricity management should be privatised.

"AfriForum believes that privatising electricity management will eliminate the impact of inept municipalities, and solve problems with electricity supply. Privatisation will also streamline debt collection and an accurate invoicing system."

Comment from co-operative governance spokesperson Botshelo Rakate could not be obtained. – Sapa

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