The electricity supply to Madibeng will be cut on 3 July unless the municipality settles its debt of R138 463 908.16, Eskom announced last week.
According to a notice published by Eskom, part of the debt has been outstanding since May 2019. “Madibeng Local Municipality’s breach of its payment obligation to Eskom undermines and placed in jeopardy Eskom’s ability to continue the national supply of electricity on a financial sustainable basis. Eskom is entitled to disconnect the supply of electricity of defaulting municipalities of which Madibeng is one, on account of non-payment of electricity debt,” the notice reads.
Eskom said it recognises the hardship to consumers as a result of an indefinite disconnection and in view of this a regulated interruption, rather than an outright disconnection is being “contemplated”. According to the temporary schedule, this will mean an electricity supply interruption for four to five hours every day.
However, the electricity supplier said that it reserves the right to totally disconnect the supply should the debt situation not improve.
Democratic Alliance shadow minister of water and sanitation, Leon Basson has written an urgent letter to the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, requesting an intervention in the matter between Eskom and Madibeng by withholding the municipality’s equitable share in order to pay Eskom, as the Department of Finance has done before.
Basson said in his letter that Madibeng is the largest industrial town in North West and a cut in electricity will negatively impact the motor manufacturing industry in South Africa. It could result in factories closing and a large amount of job losses.
“We are already experiencing difficulty with the Covid-19 lockdown and a further electricity cut will be devastating to the economy of Madibeng,” Basson said. “The minister, is hereby requested to intervene and withhold the equitable share and pay Eskom. The situation in Madibeng is currently volatile and needs intervention urgently.”
Kormorant has asked for the Madibeng municipality’s comment on the situation and is waiting for a response.