Bulk electricity disruptions will further cripple the Eastern Cape’s failing economy

Thousands of businesses and residents in the Eastern Cape are facing the reality of not having electricity, even though they have paid for the service, because their municipalities have failed to pay Eskom.

Eskom has announced planned power disruptions that will cripple the already failing Eastern Cape economy. Businesses will be forced to close their doors and thousands of jobs stand to be lost.

This is a clear indication of how the ANC have failed the people of the Eastern Cape. The failing ANC is failing in the delivery of the most basic of services.

In a notice issued last week, Eskom informed Dr Beyers Naude, Inxuba Yethemba and Great Kei municipalities that they had taken the decision to proceed with the contemplated interruption of bulk electricity supply. This was because the municipalities had not reached a payment agreement with the power utility for outstanding debt.

The interruption is scheduled to begin from the 30th of October, with the first week seeing an interruption of supply between 06:00 to 09:00 and again between 17:00 and 20:30 from Monday to Friday and then again between 06:30 and 12:00 and again from 15:00 to 17:00 over the weekend.

Thereafter the power disruptions are expected to ramp up, with the municipalities being without power from 06:00 to 20:00 daily.

It is fundamentally unfair to punish the residents of these municipalities for the failures of the administration. The question of how the debt was allowed to escalate into tens of millions also has to be asked.

The Dr Beyers Naude municipality has responded saying that, ever since its establishment in August 2016 through the amalgamation of the Camdeboo, Baviaans and Ikwezi Municipality, it has been experiencing financial difficulties, including debt owed to Eskom.

The municipality has indicated that it has offered three payment arrangements, to no avail. It further alleges that Eskom has been overcharging the municipalities of Steytlerville (32%), Willowmore (27%), Jansenville (28.19%) and Aberdeen (29.5%).

What is also worth noting is that the bulk of the Dr Beyers Naude’s debt is from the Ikwezi Municipality. Towns in the former Camdeboo and Baviaans Municipalities, who have settled their debt, will be punished severely for this historical debt.

Instead of punishing residents who have paid for electricity, Eskom should go after the officials who failed to pay it over.

I have written to the MEC for Co-operative Governance, Fikile Xasa, asking for his urgent intervention in this regard, to prevent the economy and the people of the Eastern Cape, being negatively affected.

SEE: Letter to MEC Xasa

Under a DA-led government, critical interventions would be put in place to ensure a speed up of service delivery for all South Africans.