By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA -Talks between Maluti-A-phofung local muncipality and Eskom which will see the power utility acting as an agency to maintain, upgrade, refurbish and collect revenue on behalf of the municipality, are making headway.
The two parties met in Bloemfontein last week to iron out issues relating to power supply.
This was disclosed by Maluti-A-phofung council whip Moeketsi Lebesa in an interview with The Guard.
“Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality will opt for an external mechanism for the provision of electricity services. It will enter into an agreement with Eskom, whereby the power utility will be appointed as an agent to maintain, upgrade, refurbish and collect revenue on behalf of municipality,” said Lebesa.
He said this will be done in line with section 78 of the Municipal Systems Act, which prescribes public participation and engagements with the affected stakeholders, like labour.
“After these consultations, a Service Level Agreement and Distribution Agency Agreement will be made public for comments and later signed by MAP and Eskom.”
This was confirmed by deputy president David Mabuza, who mentioned that significant progress has been made towards Eskom taking over Maluti-A-Phofung’s electricity services.
Mabuza was responding to a question posed by Kleyn Hansen, former DA councillor in Map, on why it had taken more than 10 months to make tangible progress since the courts ordered Eskom to take over electricity services from municipality.
“To this end, the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs has been advised that the two parties are now preparing to go back to court to adjudicate on the matter and for court to grant the final order in order to bring finality to this dispute.”
Mabuza also applauded the new leadership of the municipality for their efforts.
“The new leadership in that municipality has acknowledged the debt owed to Eskom and has made a commitment to service the current electricity account. This demonstrates the political will by the municipality leadership to find a mechanism to reduce the municipality’s debt.
“This commitment is evinced by a joint statement made on April 22, 2022 where Eskom and Maluti-A-Phofung announced a breakthrough in this long standing impasse. To ensure smooth delivery of electricity in the municipality in terms of this development, the parties have agreed that Eskom will install protective equipment.
“On our side, we have done everything possible to get these parties together. We were even involved in the drafting of the agreement. Of course what delayed the implementation was the fact that the municipality must do public consultations, and this took forever.”
However, Mabuza said the new leadership of Maluti-A-Phofung has shown commitment and there is progress.