The Eastern Cape Government must urgently intervene before Eskom implements electricity cuts to the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality (IYLM) that will ruin the local economy and lead to large scale closure of businesses and job losses.
On the 4th of October 2019 Eskom published a notice in Die Burger newspaper regarding proposed electricity cuts for up to 14 hours a day.
Although Eskom has now confirmed this notice was placed in error and that it is still going to have further discussions with the municipality, the faulty notice provides a good indication of the lengths Eskom will go to recover monies due.
The Eskom account due and payable by the municipality to Eskom has increased with R14-million to R114-million within just 3 months. It is therefore clear that this municipality is unable to manage this account.
Previously the Municipal Manager, Xolela Msweli, entered into four repayment arrangements, but has defaulted on all of these.
The Eastern Cape Provincial Government has also turned a blind eye to the plight of the people of Inxuba Yethemba.
In July of this year I wrote to the Premier of the Eastern Cape, Oscar Mabuyane, and the Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Xolile Nqatha, to request an urgent section 154 intervention in this municipality. See letter attached here.
Section 154 states that national and provincial governments must support and strengthen the capacity of municipalities to manage their own affairs.
No response was forthcoming from Premier Mabuyane or MEC Nqatha.
I have again written to MEC Nqatha to ask that he urgently intervenes and also made some of the following suggestions on how avert this crisis:
- The IYLM Council has no reasonable prospect of servicing the Eskom account unless all payments in respect of electricity purchases by the public are ring-fenced;
- Consider meeting with the local business forum or the public at large to endeavour to assure them that the provincial government will do everything in its ability to prevent the proposed electricity cuts; and
- Consider sending some support to IYLM to assist with financial management.
The DA Caucus in the IYLM has also requested both the Executive Mayor and the Speaker to call a Special Council meeting in order to discuss the matter on or before Friday this week.
It is clear that that the ANC government does not care about the well-being of local residents.
Only a DA government can bring financial stability and speedily deliver basic services to the people of the Inxuba Yethemba Local Municipality.
Retief Odendaal MPL
DA EC Midlands Constituency Leader
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