The culture of non-payment was effective in the apartheid years in mobilizing communities against an unfair system.
But in today’s South Africa, there is no room for this because utilities like Eskom cannot survive if users do not pay their bills, Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa in his weekly newsletter.
He points out that municipal debt to Eskom amounts to about R23.5 billion and is rising rapidly.
He acknowledged that government departments also owe Eskom a lot of debt and that it should be recovered – as well as that of private users. He writes it’s time for those people to pay their bills.
He also did not turn around the problems at Eskom.
“The damage caused by power failures to the economy is significant. This contributes to investor concern at a time when we are trying to attract more domestic and foreign capital and make it easier to do business here, ”says Ramaphosa.
“It is also understandable that South Africans are getting angry and frustrated.”
The appearance of load shedding last week shows why it is imperative that something is done to protect our energy supply.
Ramaphosa writes the recently launched Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is the government’s long-term energy supply plan. In the meantime, every effort should be made to keep the lights on in the country.
“This means we need to get Eskom back to a sound financial and operational level.
“Although progress has been made in implementing a nine-point plan for Eskom, Eskom’s financial position remains unsustainable and its existing business model difficult.”
He again said that a new CEO for Eskom would be appointed soon, whose task it would be in conjunction with a strengthened board to turn around Eskom. They will be led by a white paper on Eskom which will also be launched soon.
Eskom’s restructuring into three entities – power generation, transmission, and distribution – is crucial if it wants to overcome the challenges facing the energy industry worldwide.
“Eskom’s debt is frightening. Even more aid packages will put even greater pressure on the already limited state treasury. The latest aid package to Eskom includes very strict conditions. Fruitless and wasteful spending must be stopped, ”Ramaphosa writes.