Eskom says its chair did not know his church was R2 million in arrears with its electricity bill

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  • Eskom, South Africa’s state run and state owned energy utility, wants to set the record straight on the news articles published by both Sunday World and Sunday Times on 20 August 2023, with the headings “Eskom’s spares Makwana’s church from darkness” and “Eskom board chair’s church owes utility R2m”, respectively.
  • in both articles, Eskoms’ chairman, Mr Mpho Makwana, is called out as a prominent member of a church that has not paid its electricity bill.
  • Makwana is the secretary general of the church council at his church. 

Eskom responds as follows:

As the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Eskom, Mr Mpho Makwana is not involved in operational matters, let alone dealing with customer accounts nor influence Eskom’s decision in its credit management processes.

Eskom has an electricity supply agreement with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) and not with Mr Makwana, and by virtue of him being a member of the church does not translate to him being personally liable for the church’s electricity account. Suffice to say that the Chairman did not take part in, and is not privy to, the decisions leading to the arrangement between the church and Eskom’s accounts department.

Furthermore, Eskom has been and continues to implement its credit management processes in the management of the IPHC account like it is a norm with any other customer account across the country, including individual customers.

Eskom finds the angle of the stories by the newspapers to be sensational. The organisation also finds the dragging/referencing of the Chairman in this highly operational matter because of his religious affiliation, unnecessary. His freedom of association as enshrined in the Constitution may have been violated/trampled upon by this reporting.  

Eskom fully supports media freedom and values the media as its key stakeholder, however, the organisation is concerned about what appears to be the misuse of media freedom by the newspapers in this instance.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: Eskom


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