Note to Editors: Please find the attached soundbite in English by DA Councillor Imaan Suliman
Years of financial mismanagement and cadre deployment, compounded by ANC factionalism has left residents of Ramotshere Moiloa without power as Eskom disconnected electricity supply to the municipality due to non-payment of its R50.7 million debt.
On 30 July 2020 Eskom started to disconnect electricity to Ramotshere Local Municipality. The power utility is currently cutting off the power for up to 6 hours a day, however, if the municipality fails to make an upfront payment of R20 million by 6 August 2020, the power cuts will increase to 14 hours a day.
The DA is concerned that the continuous power cuts will further exacerbate the existing economic crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, and further plunge businesses into financial ruin.
In November 2019 the municipality owed Eskom R37 578 083. Council then took a resolution that a special council meeting is convened if the municipality was unable to honour its payment agreement. The municipality failed to honour its payment agreement and now owes a whopping R50.7 million. To date, no special council meeting has been convened to find a solution to deal with the Eskom debt.
Last year June, the municipality presented an incorrect annual financial report which was lambasted by the Auditor General (AG) in the 2018/2019 AG report of the municipality which stated that there was no credibility of information and that municipal officials lacked an understanding of basic accounting principles and there was no consequence management implemented.
Due to this incompetence, the municipality is technically bankrupt and unable to manage its finances to keep up with its debts.
The DA previously wrote to the Speaker of the North West Provincial Legislature (NWPL), Sussana Dantjie, requesting her to establish an ad-hoc committee consisting of Eskom delegates, National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to strategize on a comprehensive plan that will deal with Eskom debt, poor maintenance on Eskom infrastructure and poor revenue collection, which have all contributed to this fiasco. To date, we have not received a response to our request.
We will now submit a petition to the NWPL and also request DA Spokesperson on Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (COGHSTA), Freddy Sonakile, to submit a notice of motion for the matter to be debated in the Legislature.
Ratepaying citizens cannot continue to live without electricity due to the ANC’s mismanagement. The North West Provincial Government must now effectively address this growing problem plaguing most municipalities in the province.