Carol Paton Editor at Large

The establishment of an independent revenue collection agency and early interventions against defaulters by national and provincial government are some of the proposals co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Zweli Mkhize will put before the cabinet to resolve the problem of municipalities defaulting on Eskom payments. Eskom has said that overdue debt from municipalities reached R17bn at the end of September, rising 25% in the past six months. It has resorted to cutting off entire towns to induce payment, forcing local business groups to go to court to keep the lights on. In an interview on Thursday, Mkhize said that the proposals were based on five principles: the implementation of pre-payment systems; improved collection; swift reaction by his department and the Treasury as soon as a default occurs; dealing with the broader problem of dysfunctional municipalities; and a campaign to encourage responsible payment by consumers. As well as the debt owed by municipalit...

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