Yesterday, the new CEO of Eskom, while briefing Parliament’s committee on public enterprise, suggested to Members of Parliament that defaulting municipalities should be bypassed by providing electricity directly to consumers on prepaid basis.
Molefe was responding to MP's questions about Eskom’s threat to cut electricity to the top 20 defaulting municipalities which owed Eskom R3.6 billion by 31 March. The municipalities collectively owe R9-billion to Eskom.
CapeTalk presenter John Maytham asked for the views of former Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven on Molefe’s suggestions. Craven gave reference to what Johannesburg power did a few years ago. They introduced prepaid meters for both water and electricity to force those who owed to pay up. Cosatu stood against that decision.
The decision by Johannesburg power had huge consequences, according to Craven. People started utilising extremely dangerous ways of providing heat and power. They used wood and paraffin heaters to keep warm as well as connecting illegally to other power sources.
Water and electricity are basic needs and all the problems arise because of an attempt to commodify or privatise the supply of electricity and water.
Here is a list of 20 municipalities that owe Eskom R3.6 billion:
- Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality
- Matjhabeng Municipality
- Emalahleni Local Municipality
- Ngwathe Local Municipality
- Thaba Chweu Local Municipality
- Lekwa Local Municipality
- Govan Mbeki Municipality
- City of Matlosana Local Municipality
- Naledi Local Municipality
- Thabazimbi Local Municipality
- Msukaligwa Local Municipality
- Lichtenburg Municipality
- Nala Local Municipality
- Makana Local Municipality
- Madibeng Local Municipality
- Randfontein Local Municipality
- Dihlabeng Municipality
- Nketoana Local Municipality
- Nama Khoi Local Municipality
- Westonaria Local Municipality