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Power cuts are a concern to people living across several towns in the Northern Cape due to municipalities neglecting to pay their massive electricity bills. Municipalities in the Northern Cape owe Eskom more than R4 billion.
Most municipalities face the threat of power cuts on top of load shedding.
Residents of Siyancuma Municipality expressed their concerns.
“It’s a bit complicated when electricity is off because sometimes like us we have businesses like we are selling bones, ice cream, pompies, when it comes back, units are little.”
“The municipality is owing Eskom but we the community of Siyancuma doesn’t owe Eskom because we have prepaid meters. So if you are in areas, the municipality comes and block your electricity.”
Five of the debt-ridden municipalities have applied for a Treasury-Facilitated Debt Relief Programme. Northern Cape MEC of Economic Development and Tourism, Abraham Vosloo says the programme is intended to help municipalities with low interest rates by extending repayment periods and reducing debt.
“Dawie Kruiper has been able to pay R36.8 million at the end of September, the previous month they have been able to pay R68.3 million and also Siyancuma just paid R5 million and Renosterberg they have been able to pay R200 000. We raising these figures to indicate there is positive in that programme. We are supporting other municipalities in the province to apply for that programme. As we speak already nine municipalities in the province have already been approved at least we are expecting four more to apply.”
Financial woes for Northern Cape municipalities: