Stop Eskom plunging us into darkness‚ municipalities beg Zuma
Aphiwe Deklerk | 2017-02-08 17:30:02.0
Parks Tau at the state of the city address. File photo
Image by: Puxley Makgatho
The South African Local Government Association wants a meeting with President Jacob Zuma in a bid to avoid pending electricity cuts by Eskom.
Association president Parks Tau said the move was as a result of threats of power cuts to eight municipalities which owe billions of rand to Eskom.
Tau was speaking on the sidelines of the association’s lekgotla under way in Cape Town.
He said Salga had already met Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen and Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown‚ but it wanted to bend Zuma’s ear as well.
“It’s really an escalation‚ I mean this is a serious situation. We have municipalities who have just received confirmation that Eskom plans to continue with [the cuts]‚” said Tau.
He said the Salga national executive committee was concerned that Eskom continued to talk about cutting electricity to certain municipalities despite the talks with ministers.
“Remember‚ when power is switched off‚ we must worry. We must take it to the highest possible level as soon as possible‚” he said.
In meetings with Van Rooyen and Brown‚ the association had raised the fact that Eskom applied different credit control criteria to those of the municipalities.
Tau said while municipalities gave customers 30 days to pay‚ Eskom gave municipalities only 15 days before it started charging interest on their debts.
The power utility has warned defaulting municipalities in the Eastern Cape‚ Northern Cape‚ North West‚ Mpumalanga and Free State that they face power cuts.
A high court application to stop the move by Afriforum failed last month in Pretoria.
Tau said Salga also discussed the drought that has forced the country’s metros to enforce water restrictions.
He said municipalities should invest in reducing the amount of water “that gets lost in the system”‚ and the lekgotla had agreed that Salga should investigate means to raise funds for this.