WATCH | Eskom CEO says no debt write-off for R78bn municipal bills

Dan Marokane: If they don't pay, Eskom will use the law and the courts

Eskom CEO Dan Marokane says the power utility will go to court to compel municipalities to pay the R78bn owed to it.
Eskom CEO Dan Marokane says the power utility will go to court to compel municipalities to pay the R78bn owed to it.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Eskom CEO Dan Marokane says the parastatal cannot afford a debt write-off for municipalities that owe it R78bn.

“Eskom cannot afford to do a debt write-off. We are already being assisted by the National Treasury,” Marokane said in an interview with Newzroom Afrika. 

This comes after minister of electricity and energy Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, told a media briefing on Monday that municipalities were unable to pay Eskom the R78bn.

Marokane said if municipalities did not pay, Eskom would “use the law, go to court and try to compel municipalities to pay”.

“Let's be honest about this, one way or another the South African public is carrying this cost through the National Treasury or through the tariff structures. We need to get to a point of reasonableness and find lasting solutions, and I think the ground is fertile for that,” he said.

Marokane said some of the municipalities had partnered the entity to help them find ways to pay their debts.

“There are quite a number of interventions that are required here, some of them as simple as managerial capability where municipalities need to be assisted. We believe that if we take this concerted effort of looking holistically at what's bringing this pain, we'll find a way. It may mean that some of the hard positions that stakeholders have taken may need to be reviewed and revisited.”

On Monday, Ramokgopa said he was not confident that municipalities could pay Eskom billions and a lot of the debt was irrecoverable.

"There's no possibility under the sun that we are going to recover that R78bn. People are not sitting on this money, so it's important that we resolve this issue because it presents problems for Eskom as they need the money to reinvest into infrastructure.

"Municipalities have to pay but on objective grounds, municipalities simply don't have the means to pay. We must protect the interests of Eskom,” Ramokgopa said.


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