KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has welcomed positive developments in the payment of debt owed to Eskom by municipalities in the province.

Yesterday, Eskom KZN issued a statement commending the department’s intervention which has been a key factor in municipalities being able to honour their payment plans.

According to Eskom some of the municipalities have been able to pay off their electricity debt like eDumbe and Abaqulusi. With other municipalities are on the verge of finishing like Msunduzi and Inkosi Langalibalele.

MEC Hlomuka has commended the Management within the department for the excellent work they have done in mediating between Eskom and municipalities.

Hlomuka believes that the positive developments being noted did not happen by themselves but took great effort from the department through the deployment of senior officials to mediate between the municipalities and Eskom with a view to finding a workable solution that would allow the municipalities to pay off their debt monthly at a sustainable rate.

This breakthrough in the mediation efforts led to the signing of payment plans by Eskom with all these municipalities.

Prior to the signing of the payment plans municipalities such as eDumbe, Mthonjaneni, Abaqulusi, Inkosi Langalibalele, Msunduzi, Ulundi and Mooi-Mpofana were facing the possible risk of their electricity supply being interrupted as a result of the debt they owed to Eskom.

Following the intervention of the department the following municipalities have settled their debt:

·       eDumbe which owed R6.2-million

·       Mthonjaneni which owed R6.9-million, and

·       Abaqulusi which owed R36.1-million

“We have also seen remarkable progress in the Inkosi Langalibalele municipality. They owed Eskom an amount of R104- million and have been able to pay off 90% of this debt. In the Msunduzi municipality, the original debt owed was R203-million. They have been able to pay 78% of the debt. In both these municipalities, the full settlement of their debt is expected to take place at the end of this month” adds Hlomuka.

The Mooi-Mpofana and Newcastle municipalities are continuing to honour their payment plans.

MEC Hlomuka has also noted that the Ulundi municipality has chosen to terminate its electricity supply agreement with Eskom, which is a situation the department is mediating in to ensure the best possible outcome is reached – one that will be in the best interest of the community.

MEC Hlomuka has also noted telling contributions by the Administrators in the municipalities that are under Section 139(1) b intervention such as Abaqulusi, Msunduzi and Inkosi Langalibalele which were able to pay their debt faster.