Four municipalities owe Eskom R156 million

The Department of Local Government in the Western Cape has revealed that every single ANC-led municipality in the province owes debt to Eskom in excess of 90 days.

This collective debt reaches almost R79 million for that period, and is attributed to the following municipalities:

  • Beaufort West: R35,275,164
  • Cederburg: R24,320,525
  • Kannaland: R11,293,609
  • Matzikamma: R8,092,489

“If one were to consider the total debt which these administrations have collectively accrued to date, that figure would increase to over R156-million,” said Derrick America, the DA Western Cape spokesperson on local government.

“For four small local governments to accrue such debts is completely unacceptable. This is why I will be submitting a parliamentary question to the provincial government about what payment plans have been made with these municipalities.”

America said they understand that some municipalities have entered into similar agreements in the past, but whether or not these plans have been honoured by the ANC administrations remains a concern — especially when we see their debts continuing to grow.

“This is not the first and only problem which these municipalities are facing,” said America.

America noted that the Auditor-General’s 2019/20 report on local government found that Beaufort West was among the 22 municipalities across the country which could not account for R5.5 billion in public funds during that financial year.

“It is also due to the negligence of the Central Karoo District Municipality council, of which Beaufort West is a part, that the Western Cape Government had to issue a directive earlier this month to convene and table its 2021/22 Draft Budget,” said America.

“This was the result of the municipality failing to do so itself. If the budget is not adopted by 30 July 2021, the province would have to take further actions which may include dissolving the current council and appointing an administrator until such time that a new council has been declared.”

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Four municipalities owe Eskom R156 million