As minister Zweli Mkhize attempts to broker a cabinet-sanctioned deal to break the impasse, the amount owed to Eskom by defaulting municipalities has ballooned to R17bn at the end of September. Mkhize, who heads the co-operative governance and traditional affairs ministry, appeared before parliament’s standing committee on public accounts on Tuesday along with an advisory panel he set up to report on the stand-off, which has seen Eskom cutting off the electricity supply to entire towns, prompting businesses to go to court to have power restored. Municipal debt is growing exponentially. In March it stood at R13.57bn. The debt crisis has exacerbated Eskom’s weak financial position as it struggles to regain a sustainable footing. While Mkhize stressed that Eskom was co-operating fully with the process, advice from the advisory panel indicated the matter would not be resolved in a way that satisfied Eskom. Mkhize plans to table the recommendations in cabinet committees at the end of Nov...

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