DA takes council to task over R115m debt

The Democratic Alliance claims Walter Sisulu Municipality (WSM) mayor Bulelwa Khweyiya and municipal manager Thembinkosi Mawonga are downplaying the R115-million debt owed to Eskom, which could see residents without power.

The Democratic Alliance claims Walter Sisulu Municipality (WSM) mayor Bulelwa Khweyiya and municipal manager Thembinkosi Mawonga are downplaying the R115-million debt owed to Eskom, which could see residents without power. Picture: FILE

They would like the municipality to state how it intends repaying this debt.

The municipality is one of three that reached an agreement with the power utility on a payment plan of their combined debt of R125-million. This was after the power utility threatened to pull the plug on all defaulting municipalities.

Inxuba Yethemba in Cradock and Middelburg, Walter Sisulu in Jamestown and Burgersdorp, and Raymond Mhlaba which covers the towns of Alice, Fort Beaufort and Adelaide are believed to have entered into a payment agreement with Eskom. However no details have been released as to how this repayment would work.

The opposition party in the area says the municipality does not appreciate the seriousness of the possible power cuts and how this would affect the livelihood of residents and businesses in the area.

DA constituency leader Annette Steyn said: “According to our information, WSM owes Eskom approximately R115-million and due to poor financial management, and a lack of proper leadership both within the administration and council, the situation has deteriorated and the municipality has failed to honour its obligations to Eskom.”

The party further called for the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Fikile Xasa to intervene in the WSM and compel the municipality to immediately open up a debate around the Eskom issues.

Walter Sisulu Municipality could not be reached at the time of writing yesterday.

Cogta spokesman Mamnkeli Ngam said they had not received the letter from the DA but called on the DA to work with the council and find lasting solutions.

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