by Andrew Louw – Provincial Leader
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Date: 06 June 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the provincial government to exert pressure on the National Department of Public Works to urgently pay outstanding debt to the value of over R60 million to Dikgatlong municipality.
Residents in Barkley West, Windsorton and Delportshoop have taken their frustrations to the streets in protest of the up-scaling of loadshedding, as a direct result of the municipality’s failure to settle its outstanding debt with Eskom.
Dikgatlong owes Eskom more than R61.5 million and has to pay Eskom at least R2.1 million before electricity supply can return to normal.
Meanwhile, a reply to a parliamentary question from the MEC of COGHSTA, Bentley Vass, has revealed that the National Department of Public Works owes Dikgatlong just over R60 million.
Given Dikgatlong municipality’s dire state of financial affairs, it is critical that provincial leadership immediately enters into negotiations with National Public Works to initiate a settlement agreement. This, in turn, will avail funds to pay off Dikgatlong’s Eskom debt.
Community members feel deeply aggrieved by the fact that the majority of them are paying cash for their electricity, via prepaid meters. Yet, they are being punished with electricity cuts, for severe maladministration and corruption taking place within the municipality.
In order to restore calm to the community, Premier Sylvia Lucas and MEC Vass must physically go and diffuse the situation in Barkley West and the surrounding areas. They should also commit to launching an in-depth investigation into the finances of Dikgatlong, as it appears that money is disappearing from the municipality’s coffers.
Where the DA governs, uninterrupted electricity supply is prioritized. Only Change under a DA government in 2019 has the potential to stop the snowballing electricity crisis and bring stability to power supplies across the province.
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