It has been revealed in Parliament that municipalities and metros across South Africa owe Eskom R162,8 million in outstanding debt. Indications are that there is a massive breakdown in the payment relationship between municipalities and Eskom.

The ability to pay bills is one of the simplest functions of any government body at any level; ensuring that the electricity supply is maintained and is never disrupted qualifies as an even simpler duty of governance.

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(Above: Eskom is taking strain on many fronts. Opposition to more coal stations in South Africa took place in Washington recently)

An investigation conducted by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Free State that 11 municipalities comprising of 54 towns and over 1 million people, face disconnection due to non-payment to Eskom according to Manie Van Dyk the DA shadow minister of Public Enterprises.

Minister of Public Enterprises Barbara Hogan said Eskom cut off electricity to defaulting municipalities only as “a last resort” and always after having ensured that essential services such as hospitals and sewage plants were not affected.

Barbara Hogan, the South African Minister of Public Enterprises

In the last several years, ordinary South Africans have been beset by disruptions in power supply from problems which were not of their own devising. Now, as Eskom claims to be addressing infrastructure problems, South Africans face other potential disruptions to their power supply from what should be a simple matter of municipal payment.

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