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Eskom restores rail service power, denies Prasa in WC was singled out

27 February 2020 5:57 PM
Tags:
Eskom
PRASA
Metrorail
Eskom temporarily cut power to the rail agency in the Western Cape because of an over-due payment. It says Prasa has now paid up.

Yes, you heard right. Eskom did cut off power to passenger rail agency Prasa in the Western Cape, leaving 250,000 commuters stranded.

The sudden suspension of the rail service was prompted by an overdue payment for January.

On the Afternoon Drive show, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha tells John Maytham service has now been restored.

The customer failed to pay the account and after lengthy negotiations with Eskom we decided to terminate supply [to Prasa in the Western Cape].

Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Spokesperson - Eskom

I am pleased however, that we did restore electricity to Prasa because we received payment. We've got proof of the payment.

Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Spokesperson - Eskom

So, considering the number of municipalities in arrears, asks John, how does Eskom explain why such swift action was taken against Prasa in the Western Cape for one bill that was overdue?

Eskom's officials in that region have a duty to get their clients to meet their obligations, and that is what we have done.

Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Spokesperson - Eskom

It is correct that Eskom is owed lots of monies by lots of institutions, not only municipalities, across the country. Credit must go to our colleagues in the Western Cape for keeping up their efforts to collect revenue and indeed for getting it.

Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Spokesperson - Eskom

He notes that the power utility issues notices to the guilty municipalities on almost a daily basis about termination of supply.

We have entered into agreements for payment plans with some of those municipalities. We have ramped up our efforts to collect all revenue that is due to Eskom.

Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Spokesperson - Eskom

Earlier, Metrorail acting regional manager Raymond Maseko said they'd had been in discussions with Eskom to delay payment.

Mantshantsha says these discussions do not qualify as an agreement.

Of issue here is that this is the bill for January; it's not that we're in arrears for 3/4/5 months.

Raymond Maseko, Acting regional manager - Metrorail

We were having very good discussions in terms of them giving us time to make the payment.

Raymond Maseko, Acting regional manager - Metrorail

Mantshantsha says Eskom regrets inconveniencing "even a single person", but the utility is in equally dire straits if not worse off than Prasa in terms of obtaining the revenue to meet its own obligations.

The regrettable fact is that those 250,000 people that rely on Prasa's operations have been inconvenienced. That is totally not Eskom's intention.

Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Spokesperson - Eskom

Challenged to give figures for the number of other institutions or municipalities also cut off for non-payment, Mantshatsha says as the new Eskom spokesperson he can get hold of the exact stats to give a response.

Particularly the last three days we gave notices to terminate municipalities in Gauteng, in the Free State and in the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal as well. We did so in the Eastern Cape last week.

Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Spokesperson - Eskom

Eskom only runs the business. The politics are left to the politicians.

Sikonathi Mantshantsha, Spokesperson - Eskom

Listen to the heated discussion with Mantshantsha:

Click on the link below to listen to the interview with Maseko:

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27 February 2020 5:57 PM
Tags:
Eskom
PRASA
Metrorail

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