by Ashor Sarupen MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Finance
According to the consolidated first quarter report on Municipalities in Gauteng, ANC local municipalities including Emfuleni, Merafong and Rand West City still owe Eskom and Rand Water billions of Rands for electricity.
This has been a persistent problem by the failing ANC, whose leadership has seen the near collapse of service delivery to residents of these areas. The total debt these municipalities owe to Eskom is R1.5 billion, of which R1.1 billion is owing for more than one month from due date.
Emfuleni is the worst offender, allowing its debt to Eskom for more than 30 days to balloon to a staggering R911-million. This municipality has been under provincial intervention for months now, but the failing Gauteng ANC lacks the political will to deal decisively with its cadres in this municipality.
Merafong municipality, which illegally invested in VBS mutual bank, owes R81-million to Eskom for more than 30 days. Considering the small budget of the municipality, however, this is an alarmingly high amount.
Rand West City, which was brought about by an ill-advised merger of the Randfontien and Westonaria municipalities in 2016, owes Eskom R165-million for more than 30 days.
At a time of rolling blackouts and load-shedding, outstanding municipal debt to Eskom should be settled to shore up its balance sheet and ensure that our energy grid is not compromised.
However, the ANC in Gauteng has turned its local municipalities into sites of looting and capture, making ordinary citizens suffer for its failings. The DA will be demanding that the MEC for Finance, Barbara Creecy, fulfils her constitutional duty to ensure that these municipalities are financially viable, pay their debts and deliver services to the people.
A DA-led government in Gauteng would have taken decisive action long before the catastrophic mismanagement led to huge debts and interruption in these municipalities.
Voters have the power to remove the failing ANC in Gauteng and usher in an era of DA government that cuts corruption and speeds up service delivery across the province.