There is no guarantee that the power is going to stay on much longer.
From July 1 last year to April 30, Eskom billed the municipality a total of R897 739 586.03 for bulk electricity supply. The municipality managed to pay Eskom R402 658 709.67.
This set the municipality more than a few feet back as they are now in arrears of R1 797 875 769.54.
Eskom did not only slap the municipality on the wrist, they billed them R117 815 140. 62 interest on their overdue account for the 2017/18 financial year.
The municipality is blaming residents for making it difficult to pay Eskom.
None of the 34 wards has reached 80% payment rate. Only four wards are above the 70% payment mark. They are ward 24 with 70.28%, ward 21 with 72.17%, ward 33 with 76.63% and ward 34 with 71.30%.
Eight wards are above the 50% payment rate and 14 wards below 20%.
Wards one, two, three and four don’t even make a 4% payment rate.
“Low levels of payment for services are making it almost impossible for Emalahleni Local Municipality to service the Eskom debt. The situation is so dire to an extent that residents and businesses cannot be guaranteed that the power will remain on,” Mr Kingdom Mabuza, municipal spokesperson said.
The municipality has now called in the Red Ants to pounce on defaulters and disconnect them.
The Executive Mayor, Cllr Linah Malatjie, made a recommendation during the council meeting on June 26 that council invite the public and private sector to come and assist the municipality with revenue enhancement strategies.
To add more headaches in the hat, the municipality also has to worry about their account at the Department of Water and Sanitation.
“The municipality is developing a realistic repayment plan to settle the money owed to the department. To date the department is owed R139 009 431.45,” Mabuza said.