The city of Ekurhuleni (CoE) has rejected Eskom’s statement that it owes R544 million and has since filed a dispute with National Treasury.
In a statement Released on Monday, the CoE said it would also not hesitate to file a lawsuit against the energy company “over the non-compliance with the provisions of the municipal financial law”.
The city said it had written to Eskom to publicly retract their statement as well, pointing out that this was not the first time the utility had “deployed the[ed] legal financial practices”.
Last week, Eskom said the CoE had paid R530 million from its bulk accounts on Feb. 18, totaling R1.74 billion, but the outstanding R544 million had yet to be paid.
“This is in violation of the electricity supply agreement between Eskom and the city, and it puts significant pressure on the utility’s financial performance and sustainability.”
Eskom said they had contacted the CoE and escalated the matter to Mayor Tanya Campbell, but received no help.
“The late payments by the city resulted in Eskom charging her R86 million in interest [a] years to date.”
Gauteng customer service senior manager at Eskom, Daphne Mokwena, said it was “disappointing” to see how the municipality and the mayor were handling the matter “because there is no sense of urgency in them”.
However, the CoE is gearing up to ensure that residents’ electricity supplies are not “unlawfully disrupted.”
The city also strongly opposes the R86 million in interest charges, an amount it said was “vigorously defended”.
“The city of Ekurhuleni still believes that an amicable settlement can be reached between itself and Eskom to end… the current standoff.
“The city believes that a healthy working relationship with Eskom is still achievable.”