Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse says the city is exploring its options in order to possibly write off the multi-billion rand electricity debt owed by Soweto residents.
Soweto’s long – standing electricity debt is a major headache for the city and Esskom, with scores of unhappy residents last month taking their toll protests over frequent power outages in parts of the townland to the mayor ‘s office in Braamfontein.
In a bid to settle Soweto’s electricity debt, Phalatse said Wednesday that the city was looking at ways to write off the electricity debt accumulated over the years by Soweto residents, due to a culture of non – payment.
“In our assessment, the most common issue in resolving this issue is the debt that has accrued in recent years, which Soweto residents are expected to pay [and] they do not have the money to pay for it, ”said Phalatse.
“We will have to agree with the residents of Soweto that we are to help them try to write off debt; get a clean slate, and then we work on our future relationship, whether Eskom continues to supply electricity or whether City Power takes over.
“It doesn’t matter if they have to pay for services and those who can’t afford to access basic services for free according to what is available in the city.”
The mayor made the remarks on the sidelines of the address of newly refurbished Metrobus buses at Roodepoort Metrobus Depot, west of Joburg.
Soweto electricity debt ‘worth nothing’
While Phalatse criticized the culture of non – payment by some residents, she said the city was unlikely to recover Soweto’s electricity debt as it pushed to take over the power supply from Eskom.
“We have established together with our internal treasury that this debt is not worth it because no one can recover that debt and even City Power cannot recover it.
“It is therefore unfair on Eskom in the negotiations to take over Eskom’s supply areas to expect the city to buy up the debt; a debt worth nothing, ”said Phalatse.
Phalatse called for an “honest conversation” about Soweto’s electricity debt, emphasizing that the possibility of writing off debt did not mean that residents who can afford to pay for electricity should stop.
“We believe we have a better chance of gaining better working relationships with Soweto residents once we have passed that mark.
“We have spoken to the leadership about helping us manage expectations, there is no such thing as free electricity and only those who can not afford, and who are registered according to the city’s indigenous database, will be able to access basic services free of charge.
“Anyone who can afford to pay has to pay for it and that is an expectation that we must manage.”
City of Joburg looking into writing off Soweto’s electricity debt, says mayor Source link City of Joburg looking into writing off Soweto’s electricity debt, says mayor