Since Eskom issued out the deadline for payment of electricity bills for those defaulting, Kannaland Municipality has declared their need for about R12.7 million to avoid getting cut off.
This was made known by the manager of the municipality Morne Hoogbaard who was speaking to the Western Cape legislature.
According to him, the residents of the municipal would not be able to cough out such amount of money because the area is largely dominated by farmers and highly unemployed people.“This impedes revenue collection,” he explained.
Speaking further on this, Hoogbaard said the municipal is given until later days of February to pay up their bills to avoid disconnection.
Apparently, the disconnection will affect not just the residents but also businesses in the town of Ladismith which is the home to one of the country’s better known cheese producers and Calitzdorp which is also known for its port grapes.
Other towns that will be affected include Van Wyksdorp and Zoar, in the Western Cape’s fruit belt. All these will remain powerless by 26 February. The municipality in Zoar has been said to have had huge losses of recent as it can not credict control and possibly disconnect residents who could not pay.
This therefore has made the debt of the municipality to drastically increase leaving the management to pay around R500 000 in rder to pay off the R12.7m debt which is already crippling it.
However, the municipality has pleaded with the Eskom to allow it pay R8m of its R12.7m arrear owed and if the Eskom agrees to the plea, the municipality had proposed to withdraw R7.3m from the loan it secured from Standard Bank by putting up municipal assets as collateral.
But unfortunately, treasury does not allow borrowing to cover debt. It will only approve borrowing for capital expenditure and infrastructure.
The mayor of the municipality Jeffrey Donson, has also cried that the municipality lacks proper funding. He told the provincial select committee on local government that the municipality is so short-staffed that most people are doing the jobs of at least three others. The issue is quiet hard for the municipality but we hope that it gets help to pay for these bills to avoid power outage.