Connect with us


Eskom’s Municipal Debt Crisis: Over R63 Billion Owed



Minister of Electricity Kgosientsho Ramokgopa had detailed Eskom’s struggles.

The relentless surge of debt incurred by South African municipalities is exacting a heavy toll on Eskom’s distribution capacity, hampering any strides made towards tackling pressing distribution challenges. Notably, the communities still grappling with power cuts find themselves in an ever-deepening struggle as a result as reported by The Citizen.

In his weekly address, delivered on a Sunday, Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, the Minister of Electricity, sounded the alarm on a grave situation. The municipal debt load has swelled to over R63 billion, with an astounding 77% of this staggering sum originating from the top 20 municipalities.

Also Read: Cable Theft’s Severe Impact on South Africa’s Railways

Multiple Factors Amplify the Crisis

Ramokgopa proceeded to illuminate the intricacies of the crisis. A toxic amalgam of factors – including revenue collection failures, illicit connections siphoning off electricity, and dwindling consumer sales due to theft – has forged a dire predicament. The collective fallout of these issues has plunged municipalities deeper into debt, jeopardising their ability to meet their obligations to Eskom. Simultaneously, this financial stranglehold hampers their capacity to invest in much-needed electricity infrastructure, compounding issues like load reduction.

In the minister’s words, “These communities are subjected to a number of challenges. They are subjected to load reduction.” The challenges extend beyond mere inconvenience, stretching to communities in various corners of the nation, where prolonged spells without electricity persist. Notably, this plight isn’t solely a consequence of scheduled load shedding but a direct result of these intertwined challenges.


Ramokgopa further revealed an unsettling pattern: several municipalities, despite entering into agreements, cannot uphold their end of the bargain. The root of this failure lies in eroding their revenue bases, rendering these commitments unsustainable in the face of mounting debt.

A Glimpse into a Gloom-Ridden Future

The minister’s analysis transcends immediate concerns, painting an alarming picture for the future. Even after the load-shedding issue has been mitigated, specific communities will remain trapped in the clutches of power outages, ensnared by the ailing infrastructure. However, Ramokgopa offered reassurance that comprehensive solutions are in the works, asserting, “We are addressing the entire ecosystem so that we can have a foolproof comprehensive solution on the resolution of the electricity problem in the country.”

Beyond the human cost, failing to meet Eskom’s dues has broader repercussions. It erodes Eskom’s capacity to maintain and service the intricate electricity distribution network. Moreover, budgets allocated for remedying repeated sub-station breakdowns and transmission unit failures are drained, exacerbating an already dire situation.

With a resolute tone, Ramokgopa affirmed, “We have to do something to resolve this.” Collaborative efforts involving distribution stakeholders, the national treasury, and the South African Local Government Association (Salga) are underway to grapple with the municipal debt issue. However, the minister acknowledged a disquieting trend: the annual escalation of debt is poised to assume an exponential trajectory, exacerbating the burden on Eskom.

Ramokgopa concluded with a poignant insight into the complexities facing Eskom, stating, “Demand for replacement parts could not be planned for because we don’t know at which point a transformer is going to fail as we don’t know who is connecting illegally.” This encapsulates the multifaceted challenges that the electricity provider faces as it seeks to untangle the intricate web of financial woes and deteriorating infrastructure.


Also Read:

JRA Reopens Asphalt Plant After Year-Long Pause

Follow us on Google News

Photo: Facebook / @The Citizen News

Continue Reading