By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA- Deputy President David Mabuza has disclosed that Eskom will take over billing and distribution of electricity in the Maluti-a-phofung (MAP), local municipality and process are at final stage.
Mabuza said this while responding to the questions in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday. .
“Eskom and Maluti-a-phofung will sign a service delivery agreement by not later than two weeks. Today we have seen the proposed of service level agreement between the two and we agreed with them, that is why I am confident that people of Maluti-a-phofung will receive electricity. The honours is upon them now to pay for these services that they receive,” explained Mabuza
Outlining how the proposed service level agreement is going to work between Eskom and Maluti-a-phofung , Mabuza said national government has intervene with the understanding that building of capacity is a priority.
“The intention of service level agreement is to allow Eskom to take the distribution of electricity, of course collect revenue after that, Eskom will give municipality what is due to them out of the revenue collected and also take the revenue that belongs to Eskom.”
He said there will also be skills transfer from Eskom to municipality officials to enable the municipality to maintain their infrastructure at the end of service delivery agreement which expected to take four to five years.
“In the process we will try to maintain the infrastructure but also to capacitate workers in the municipalities. The service delivery agreement is for a particular period and not going to be for ever. The distribution of energy and water is the function that belongs to the municipality,” said Mabuza.
Responding to the concern about small business in the area who rely of selling electricity as street vendors when Eskom take over, Mabuza said the electricity vendors and small business in the area are the once who have been advocating for Eskom to take over.
He said the arrangement is not forever but it will only take four to five year when municipality employees would have been capacitated with skills to maintain their infrastructure.
“These electricity vendors and some of the small businesses in the area are the once that have taken the municipality to court, because the municipality was failing to supply electricity due to the standoff between the municipality and Eskom. They were advocating for Eskom to deliver electricity direct and this is going to happen.”
A court order had previously been granted by the high court in Pretoria allowing Eskom to act as an agent for Maluti-a-Phofung after residents approached it.
As from March 2021 the municipality owed Eskom 5.9 billion of unpaid debt.
Reacting to the impact caused by non-payment of services consumed by residents Mabuza had this to say.
“The impact of non-payment for service that are consumed is very huge because the municipality is unable to maintain the infrastructure because of stolen electricity and water. When people are not paying that means the water boards cannot continue to bring water because they must employ people and maintain system. This principle of not paying for services is the challenge that we must overcome an we are calling upon our people to real pay for services.”
He promised that government will do it’s part by installing smart meters to ensure what people pay is equivalent to water or electricity consumed as it has been a source of conflict.