Eskom Forces North West Government To Pay Up

Power utility Eskom was last week forced to disconnect electricity to four North West provincial government departments to recoup what it is owed.
It is alleged Eskom’s impassioned pleas to the office of the premier and the departments of co-operative governance, human settlement and traditional affairs, finance and public works to pay their accounts timeously fell on deaf ears, pushing it to embark on the revenue collection strategy last Friday.
Eskom spokesperson in the North West Mogomotsi Maboe confirmed the disconnections but declined to disclose the amount owed.
He, however, said the matter had been resolved.
“The payment was made and the reconnection process is underway,” Maboe said.
North West public works and roads spokesperson Matshube Mfoloe confirmed that electricity disconnection had taken place but the power was restored after payments were made.
“It is untrue that we owed money in terms of non-payment of bills for power consumed. For entities that are a competency of public works, we owe Eskom nothing to date.“The entities are public works and roads’ Old Parliament Building, New Transport Building, Garona Building, Embassy Complex, GeoScience and Lowe Complex,” he said.
“More than R1-million was paid as soonest when the department was invoiced more than a week ago.
“Eskom does bill us on a monthly basis, yes, but the invoices for payment do not necessarily come on the last day of each month,” Mfoloe said.
He further said all invoices received are paid within 30 days unless there are issues that need to be clarified.
Meanwhile, DA MPL in the North West Freddy Sonakile, who was affected by the disconnection at the MPLs’ residential area, said this was a sign of a failed government. He said a generator had to be brought in to provide power.
“The disconnection of electricity supply to government departments because of nonpayment has effectively brought key service delivery programmes to a halt.
“The DA has tried on a number of occasions to speak to North West Premier Bushy Maape and heads of departments without success,” Sonakile said.
“However, it appears that Maape and HODs are now running around trying to find a solution.
“It is a waste of time because the solution surely is to pay the outstanding amounts immediately,” he said.
Sonakile said it is a shameful indictment that provincial departments cannot even do the basics – like pay their accounts on time.
He said if ever anyone needed evidence that the ANC at any sphere of government is incompetent, this is it.
“Several North West municipalities are also failing to service their Eskom debt in excess of R1-billion. To note that this is the same with provincial government departments is an indication that there is simply no government in the North West.
“If this is not enough motivation to dismiss the entire provincial executive and start on a clean slate, nothing else ever will,” said Sonakile.