Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Eskom has now received the legal go-ahead to switch off the power it supplies to nonpaying municipalities. However, it would be interesting to hear Eskom’s convoluted reasons why no action has been taken against the thousands of Soweto residents who owe the power utility billions of rand, having not paid for electricity for years.

I suppose it is easier to tackle a singular nonvoting municipality than face the wrath of the ANC when thousands of the latter’s members demand to know why their right to a "free service" has suddenly been terminated.

Would it be a stretch to surmise that the defaulting municipalities are all under ANC control? It is common knowledge that most poorly run local authorities have been under ANC control for many years. No surprise here — the large state enterprises are in a similarly dodgy state.

The big unanswered question is, since these switched-off municipalities have no real possibility of settling their debts, does this mean the government will have to come to the rescue, or will these towns wither and die as businesses relocate? If the latter applies, the future looks bleak.

Howard Skeens


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