Protest actions flared up in eMbalenhle this evening in anger to the electricity disruptions.
According to information that The Bulletin received the protests is against the continual power disruptions that eMbalenhle are experiencing at the moment. The protests are still small but knowing the history of these actions in eMbalenhle it could turn out to be very serious. It is, however, very worrying that eMbalenhle has now joined eMzinoni in protesting against the power interruptions that plague the area. Bethal is also bearing the brunt at this stage and residents are starting to form groups to address this problem.
Govan Mbeki Municipality send out notices that certain areas will experience load shedding as they are exceeding the Notified Maximum Demand (NMD). Residents are not happy with the situation as it is at the moment and said that the load shedding has no schedule. They are also unhappy with the continual disruptions beyond the load shedding.
GMM owes Eskom nearly 2 Billion rand with no prospect of paying it back.
To top it all, the failure by GMM to manage their spiralling Eskom debt has resulted in Eskom charging interest and penalties.
Trudie Grovè-Morgan: MPL and DA Provincial Spokesperson on CoGTA wrote in a statement today that Mpumalanga municipalities are charged nearly R1 billion interests on their Eskom debt every year.
Mpumalanga’s 21 municipalities are billed an alarming R1 billion interest rate on their Eskom debt every year.
This information was revealed in reports from the portfolio committees on Human Settlements and CoGTA.
According to the reports, the Mpumalanga provincial Eskom debt for the month of March 2020 was just over R8 billion and the total interest charged by the entity was R78 061 896. Assuming that such interests are charged on a monthly basis; then the entity is roughly charging municipalities in the province over R936 million (in interest charges) over a twelve-month period.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is concerned that the repayment of Eskom debt has always been an issue in our province due to non-generation of revenue, large number of illegal electricity connections, inaccurate billing systems, and high interest charges by the entity on overdue accounts.
The Eskom debt in our province is extremely concerning given the fact that towards the end of 2016, we only owed Eskom R990 million.
Below is a table reflecting a municipality’s Eskom total debt and interest charged for March 2020:
1. Emalahleni owes R3.8 billion and charges R32 967 498 interests in March.
2. Govan Mbeki owes R 1.8 billion and charged R20 645 151 interest in March.
3. Lekwa owes R 1 billion and charged R10 076 743 interest in March.
4. Thaba Chweu owes R707 million and charged R5 241 821 interest in March.
Information taken from individual monthly reports of two municipalities:
For the period ending 31 March 2020 the municipality owed Eskom an amount of R3.8 billion and the Department of Water and Sanitation R220 million (more recent). The municipality also noted that they do not have a repayment plan with Eskom.
Due to issues relating to revenue generation, the municipality is owed over R4 billion for services which were provided to consumers, money if capitalised on, would service the Eskom debt.
2. Govan Mbeki
For the period ending 29 February 2020 the municipality owed Eskom an amount of R1.8 billion and Rand Water R246 million. During the month of February 2020, the municipality lost 55.94% of the electricity it purchased. Due to issues relating to revenue generation, the municipality is owed R2 billion for services provided.
Having such a large amount of both debtors and creditors is further hampering the ability of these municipalities to roll out services and as such they are failing to live up to their constitutional mandates.
Lack of political will, financial mismanagement, and incompetency as a result of Cadre Deployment must be blamed for the mess in municipalities.
“Should residents vote the DA to run Mpumalanga municipalities, we will ring-fence ratepayers’ monthly electricity payments, which ANC-led municipalities have ignored for years – hence this crisis. We find no justification for why residents should suffer due to the municipalities’ incompetence.” Trudie concluded.
GMM also embarked on the umptieth project to address the electricity losses (51%-53%) in the municipality.
On their Facebook page they posted about their endeavour as follows (read it on their page here: https://web.facebook.com/Govan-Mbeki-Municipality-1400031660135968/.) Also read the Bulletin’s article about the issue here: https://thebulletin.co.za/2020/05/08/gmm-remove-illegal-connections/
Illegal electricity connection in eMzinoni
The Govan Mbeki Municipality carried out a joint operation with the South African Police Service on Tuesday, 19 May 2020 in efforts to curbing illegal electricity connections in eMzinoni to reduce the overloading on the power network.
The area has been experiencing electricity outages due to illegal connections in the area leading to network overload.
The municipality’s technical team has been on site several times trying to resolve the problem only to notice that each time the power is restored, it would last few hours caused by continuous illegal connections.
The municipality has incurred costs already replacing damaged components of the network in the area.
We encourage residents to report illegal connections to firstname.lastname@example.org so that those responsible could face the full might of the law, as electricity theft becomes much higher in the winter.
Let us hope that the issue with Eskom and the NMD will be addressed and resolved.
“The country was promised that there will be no load shedding during the lockdown,” several residents said to the Bulletin, “why are we having it then?”