- Eskom has won a summary judgement against Emfuleni Local Municipality for the R1.3 billion which the municipality owed the power utility for unpaid bulk electricity services back in 2019.
- The R1.3 billion was part of a total debt of R1.9 billion which the local government had accumulated in 2019.
- Eskom had already won judgement for R615 million which kept compounding unabated due to the municipality’s poor servicing of its electricity account.
- Assets belonging to the local municipality were subsequently attached in an attempt to recoup the debt in line with the court order.
The Emfuleni Local Municipality, founded in 1999, is one of three local municipalities comprising the Sedibeng District in Gauteng, South Africa. It is the westernmost local municipality in the District, and covers an area of 987 km² at the heart of the Vaal Triangle. The municipality claims to be the ‘cradle of human rights’
To date, Emfuleni’s total debt stands at a staggering R3.5 billion including the current account bill of R385 million due today, 2 September 2021. “The current summary judgement provides us with several options to recover the debt owed to us. We could attach and transfer Emfuleni’s electricity infrastructure which comprises their electricity substations and power lines, and offset the value of the infrastructure against the judgment debt and/or attach known electricity revenue streams of the municipality by way of garnishee-type of orders”, says Daphne Mokwena, Senior Manager for Customer Services in Gauteng.
Emfuleni ranks as the highest among Gauteng municipalities with poor payment levels and arrear debt greater than 30 days of more than R3 billion. The Emfuleni Municipality is followed by Merafong Local Municipality with over R570 million, Randwest Local Municipality above R510 million, City of Tshwane above R200 million and City of Ekurhuleni above R8 million, respectively. The Mogale City Local Municipality has signed a payment agreement with Eskom for its outstanding total debt of more than R361 million and has been honouring its payments.
“We would like to thank and commend the Gauteng municipalities with good payment records, which are City of Johannesburg (City Power), Midvaal Local Municipality and Lesedi Local Municipality for consistently honouring their payment obligations on time”, concluded Mokwena.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal