R50 000 Debt To Municipality Sees Lights Off At Limpopo Eskom Building

The electricity has been out at a Limpopo Eskom building for more than two weeks due to the power utility owing Polokwane municipality tens of thousands of rand for electricity consumed.
This has left scores of employees frustrated, as they now have to work from home without proper resources.
The Eskom building, said to be a transmission building, is at Number 39, Hans van Rensburg Street, in Polokwane and houses engineers.
The building had power switched off after it owed the municipality R50 000 in electricity payments.
According to the municipality, along with Eskom there were six departments including national and provincial Public Works buildings owing the municipality millions of rand, while others committed to repay before the cut-offs.
An employee, speaking to the Pretoria News on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said there was a lack of production in recent weeks because there was no electricity.
“We are forced to work at home when we don’t have equipment to do so, which affects production. I have felt so useless for the past two weeks because I have not been able to do my work properly.
“For example, when I’m on the field to monitor our provincial plants I have no way to communicate the report of what is taking place, because I can’t report to anyone at the office because there is no one there,” the insider said.
The source added that load shedding and no production would see far-reaching implications.
“If this continues we will as a province have our own electricity problem because we are a transmission building that is not working. It does not help the main office with relief.”
Polokwane municipality spokesperson Thipa Selala confirmed that the building and other government buildings were cut off due to non-payment.
Selala said: “I can confirm Eskom was terminated when the power utility owed the municipality at the time of cut-off.
“This is unpaid arrears in relation to electricity consumed by Eskom. The Eskom address in question owes about R50 000. The organs of state that include departments and parastatals owe the municipality millions.
He said the municipality had received a commitment for payments from the Department of Public Works of about R30 million by July 15, however, the municipality had not received any correspondence or payment to date or proof of payment.
“The municipality has a responsibility to service Eskom bulk accounts and to deliver sustainable service to the people. Without collection, it would be difficult to deliver the much-needed services. Our switch-off exercise has been ongoing since around 2019/2020.”
Speaking to the Pretoria News at the weekend, Limpopo Eskom spokesperson Matshidiso Phaladi said she was not aware of the matter as she was based in another department.
“I would not have details for now but I should be able to respond on Monday,” Phaladi said.
The matter has shone a spotlight on the failure by government departments and other entities to pay for utilities. The municipality in 2019 recovered millions of rand after cutting off state departments.
Earlier this year the Modimolle-Mookgophong municipality in the province collected almost Rm in one day day after it threatened to cut off electricity to government entities due to non-payment.
Premier’s office spokesperson Ndavhe Ramakuela said: “The cutting off of electricity in some departments is an operational matter that those departments should address.
“As the provincial government we have an agreement that no department should owe any municipality. In cases of historical debts, arrangements should be made to settle those. We follow this up through the premier’s Intergovernmental forum that meets regularly to oversee this aspect, among others.”