Power threat to festival averted

The lights will stay on in Grahamstown for the duration of the National Arts Festival after the Makana Municipality clinched a deal with Eskom to pay R8.2-million of its electricity debt.

The municipality owes the power utility about R54-million. Makana Municipality mayor Nomhle Gaga said the municipality had not been able pay Eskom for two months.

“We have agreed to service R8.2-million of the account and generate R15-million [for the] arrears debt by the end of next month,” Gaga said.

DA MPL Jane Cowley said the municipality was struggling to pay its debt due to the inadequate collection of charges, which had led to it operating on a monthly deficit of R7-million.

At a council special meeting on Tuesday, DA caucus leader in Makana, Mlindi Nhanha, proposed that a special task team be set up to co-opt residents with the requisite skills to draft and implement a turnaround strategy for the municipality.

Cowley said if the turnaround strategies did not yield positive results, she would ask Cooperative Governance MEC Fikile Xasa to place the municipality under administration.

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