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Residents of Zeerust are going to enter winter in darkness, warns Eskom

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The power utility has warned of imminent power cuts for numerous areas in the Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality as of late April 2019 due to unpaid electricity bills.

Political Analysis South Africa recently published a story about the maladministration in the Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality, which had been placed under administration since Saturday, 1 September 2018. Despite the presence of the administrator, the municipality’s financial adversity is mounting.

We have seen a circular from Eskom which warns that there is intention to interrupt bulk supply to Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality as of Thursday, 25 April 2019, and continue indefinitely.

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The municipality is indebted to Eskom in the amount of R28 871 188 for bulk supply of the electricity, which has been outstanding and in escalation since 2012. Eskom is having its own problems while its owed by many municipalities around the country.

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (SCOPA) were told by Eskom leadership that over 12 months during the 2017/18 year, municipal debt swelled by 40 percent, or R4.16 billion. The worst offenders were municipalities from Free State, Mpumalanga and North West, while Gauteng and Northern Cape were also raising concerns.

The communities that are likely to be affected are Zeerust, Lefurutshe, Naledi and all areas paying municipality rates. Villages are unlikely to be affected because they use prepaid electricity and do not owe Eskom.

The source within the municipality says that they had a meeting with the municipal manager, where they talked about the Eskom issues. We also learned that the municipality made payment, which was not disclosed, and they will meet with Eskom on Wednesday, 13 March 2019, to try and resolve this issue.

Kirileng Rantao, who is in his early 40s, is a vendor in Zeerust and says that he is unable to conduct his business when there is no electricity as he sells fried chips. “The electricity cuts have been a problem to small businessmen like us, we lose a lot of money and that impacts our families negatively, we just pray that the national government sends someone because this municipality is just incapacitated,” said Rantao.

Kenneth Mokgatlhe
[email protected]

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