Kroonstad “’ one of
the Free State towns
threatened with
Johannesburg, South Africa — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 28 October 2010 – Eskom has issued notices threatening some Free State towns with electricity disconnections for a second time this year because of the non-payment of electricity accounts.

Democratic Alliance shadow deputy minister for energy David Ross said the new development included eight Free State towns which faced possible electricity disconnections on 23 November 2010. The disconnections would affect the towns of Kroonstad, Viljoenskroon, Steynsrus, Parys, Vredefort, Heilbron, Koppies and Edenville, he said in a statement.

The DA claimed that the information was contained in the two public participation notifications to discuss the possible termination of the electricity supply to the Ngwathe and Moqhaka municipalities in the northern Free State. The notifications indicated that the Ngwathe municipality (Parys) owed more than R21.2 million, and the Moqhaka municipality owed more than R32.7 million.

Ross pointed out that the fault lay not with ordinary citizens, but with ANC municipalities who had chronically failed to pay their electricity bills.

The notices indicate that written comments indicating why Eskom should or should not proceed with the proposed disconnection must be submitted to retail manager Zuhdi Hamza by 8 November 2010.

The Free State government set up a special task team to help Free State municipalities faced with similar disconnections three months ago. Provincial government spokesperson Wisani Ngobeni said the task team would continue helping struggling municipalities, specifically in terms of revenue collecting. The matter was a big issue which needed a holistic approach.

The DA again urged energy minister Dipuo Peters and the Free State MEC for co-operative governance Mosibenzi Zwane to intervene and protect the energy security of residents.

Ordinary South Africans could not be held responsible for the maladministration of these disfunctional municipalities, said Ross.