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Eskom has offered to write off R5,3-billion off the electricity debt of Soweto residents

Kaya News Reporter 

Eskom has offered to slash more than R5-billion off the debt of Soweto residents.

This will leave them with a debt of R7.5-billion. Soweto is among the top 20 non-paying municipalities that owe 23% of Eskom’s arrears.

“The reduction in Soweto debt is mainly due to the write-off of prescribed debt of R5.3bn and write-back of non-compliant in duplum (double the amount) interest of R3.3bn,” Eskom states in its 2020/21 annual report released this week.

The debt owed by Soweto residents to Eskom has decreased to R7.5 billion in 2021 from R12.8 billion last year, but this was because the power utility wrote off R5.3 billion. Eskom indicated that the total invoiced Soweto debt had decreased to R7.5bn, including interest, by the end of March this year, down from R12.8bn last year.

Also Read: Medupi explosion sets Eskom back R2 billion

Phemelo Motene spoke to City of Johannesburg Finance MMC, Matshidiso Mfikoe who gave insight on the debt rehabilitation program in the city and the low intake of applications for relief funds to assist people who have been put into debt due to the impacts of COVID-19.

Also Read: Completion of Eskom’s Medupi plant set to boost SA’s power supply

Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee wants Eskom to write-off entire debt

The Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee says it wants Eskom to write off its entire R16 billion electricity bill that residents owe to the state-owned power utility. This week, Eskom announced it would be writing off R5.3 billion electricity debt owed by Soweto residents.

The power utility’s announcement during their annual result presentation says that they are owed R35.3 billion in municipal debt and reporting a financial loss of almost R19 billion.

The Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee says this is not enough. Lerato Mokgapi is the spokesperson for the entity.

“We still not excited about that and we stand firm on our position which is clear that Eskom should scrap all the debt. Prior to this pandemic residents of Soweto took to the streets protesting against the unfair practices of Eskom and high tariffs. The majority of the poor that are using the electricity are unemployed.”

“Soweto is against Eskom’s pre-paid system and its high tariffs. We are talking about a basic need here. And again if they say they will be scrapping that 5.3 because currently, we don’t even have electricity. In Diepkloof, already we are sitting with a ridiculous schedule of electricity and now they still expect us to pay. And as residents of Soweto we will not pay,” adds Mokgapi.

 

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