Eskom cuts power over debt
Eskom has followed through on its threat to cut power in parts of the Dr Beyers Naude local municipality.
On Thursday, residents and businesses were left without power for a combined 6½ hours because the municipality owes Eskom R95m.
The areas affected are Jansenville, Willowmore and Steylerville.
For the first week, power will be off in those areas from 6am to 9am and again from 5pm to 8.30pm on weekdays and between 8.30am and noon and 3pm and 7pm on weekends.
In March, Eskom issued a notice that it would cut bulk electricity supply to the municipality after it defaulted on its payment agreement.
“Dr Beyers Naude has not remedied the breach of payment agreement as per the suspension notice issued on 29 October 2018,” Eskom said.
If the municipality does not reach an agreement with Eskom by Sunday, then in week two, electricity will be off from 6am to 8pm every day.
Sarah Baartman ANC regional secretary Johannes Hobbs said Dr Beyers Naude mayor Deon de Vos had informed him that Eskom had gone ahead with load-shedding in certain parts of the municipality.
Co-operative governance and traditional affairs MEC Fikile Xasa confirmed that his department, finance MEC Oscar Mabuyane and representatives from Eskom and the Dr Beyers Naude municipality had all met on Wednesday.
“My department was facilitating engagements with Eskom and I thought we had succeeded in finding a solution,” Xasa said.
Of the municipality’s debt, Xasa said Eskom wanted the Dr Beyers Naude municipality to pay R28m, but it could afford only R10m.
DA Eastern Cape leader Nqaba Bhanga lambasted the municipality and said this was due to the failure of the ANC government.
“Hundreds of small businesses in these towns will be forced to close shop,” he said.
“The extended power cuts threaten other basic services, like water and sewage.
“Hospitals and clinics will be unable to provide healthcare.”