Eskom debt: ANC: This is our solution – DA: We smell a rat

An electric light bulb shines 31 May 2007 in Paris. From 01 July 2007 on, due to the liberalization of the energy market, consumers will be free to subscribe to a private supplier or to continue with the current gas and electricity suppplier (EDF-GDF). AFP PHOTO JOEL SAGET (Photo credit should read JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite expressive resistance by opposition parties, the Govan Mbeki municipal council will go ahead with a public private partnership agreement which the ANC believes will solve the municipality’s Eskom debt crisis.
The executive mayor, Flora Maboa Boltman tabled at special council meeting on Tuesday a proposal from Mzilampi 2 (Pty.) Ltd.
This company proposes to develop a solar farm, creating turnkey mayoral projects, the settlement of the Eskom debts and the enhancement and management of the electricity management through energy initiatives.
Stipulated in the council document is the following: “the establishment of this partnership will come at no cost of the municipality with the risk collecting back the funds used in the projects lying mainly on Mzilampi 2 (Pty.) Ltd, as they will be enhancing and managing the electrical management system to ensure that their funding is recouped at a stipulated time no longer than 36 months.”
Mayor Maboa Boltman is said clearly this is not a loan agreement.
She also said in the council chamber that this was an unsolicited, in other word not put out on tender, proposal from Mzilampi 2 (Pty.) Ltd.
It was said in the council chambers that Mzilampi 2 (Pty.) Ltd was going to pay the Eskom debt with money they will obtain from Germany.
ANC councillors seemed exited at the prospect of having the debt settled and creating jobs at the same time.
However, all the opposition parties voiced their reservations on this issue.
The DA pointed out inconsistencies such as Mzilampi 2 (Pty.) Ltd.’s VAT number and address, as well as vague information available on the owners or directors of the company.
They suggested a thorough investigation into this company before entering an agreement.
The Freedom Front Plus is questioning how the council will repay this company and keep debt from piling up again, and the EFF said Govan Mbeki municipality can go directly to Germany for the money.
When it appeared that the ANC councillors are adamant to get this resolution approved, all the councillors from the opposition parties walked out.
The ANC was short of three councillors to form a quorum to approved the resolution.
The meeting was adjourned for 20 minutes where after three more ANC councillors arrived and the item was approved.
Per the DA’s caucus leader, Encee van Huyssteen, there is something “amiss” with this deal. “I smell a rat,” he said.
“This has all the markings and appearances of a possible severance package for the municipal manager.”
The DA held community meetings the past few days throughout the municipal area where they informed residents on the dire distress the municipality is in.
Besides the staggering Eskom debt, millions of Rand are being owed to Rand Water Board, SARS and Sasol.
Residents attended these meetings in large numbers where the general feeling was to either demand electricity supply directly from Eskom or to demand that the municipality be placed under administration. – Airsja Misselhorn


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