Eskom threatens to turn off Makhanda’s electricity
The Makana Municipality is facing a looming power blackout which will see electricity switched off in Makhanda for large parts of the day.
This, as the municipality owes Eskom R90m in unpaid electricity bills
On Thursday, Eskom issued a notice that it would proceed with bulk electricity supply interruption to the struggling municipality.
Eskom said the Makana Municipality was in breach of its payment agreement and it was going to move forward with load-shedding from April 2.
Makana owes Eskom R90m, a debt that dates back to 2013/2014.
Makana municipal manager Moppo Mene said the matter would be submitted at a special council meeting on March 27.
Mene said the municipality had met Eskom in December in a meeting convened by the national department of co-operative governance to make arrangements.
“We had a payment plan and our view as the present management was that the payment plan [previously] submitted to council was not right because the municipality can’t afford it, which is why we’re constantly defaulting,” Mene said.
Makana defaulted on payments to Eskom in April , May and June in 2018.
“The municipality can’t afford that particular amount because it’s an accumulation of those months including present months,” Mene said.
“We want to go to council so that it can advise on what to do.
“We’ve written to Cogta nationally and the guys who were in the December meeting [so] that we sit with Eskom and revise the payment plan so that in the end we can be in a better position.
“We do pay Eskom but not the full amount. It’s the accumulation that is giving us problems.”
Should Eskom follow through and cut the power, in the first week electricity will be disrupted from 6am to 9am and then again from 5pm to 8pm from Monday to Friday.
On Saturday and Sunday, it will be off from 8.30am to noon, and then from 3pm to 7pm.
From week two onwards, power will be cut from 6am to 8pm from Monday to Sunday.
The Makana municipality is also dealing with a water crisis and is upgrading the James Kleynhans water treatment works – a project that is expected to take up to 18 months to complete.
Asked how the power cuts would affect Makhanda’s already erratic water supply, Makana mayor Mzukisi Mpahlwa said he believed it would not get to that as the municipality planned to pay Eskom R10m next week.
“We have a plan to pay the amount from our Equitable Share.
“There’s also a meeting planned with officials from Cogta to try and come up with a revised payment plan for Eskom,” Mpahlwa said.
Local businesswoman Daphne Timm said Makhanda business owners could not let the power cuts happen.
“The business community in Grahamstown (Makhanda) will be doing something about the power cut,” she said.
“We can’t let it happen, it cannot happen because businesses and residents can’t afford that.
“Without electricity we won’t have water. The water we have, we won’t have.
“It can’t go ahead, something has to be done and will be done about it in the next week.”
Makana owes Eskom R90m, a debt that dates back to 2013