A technical task team comprising of national government departments and the Free State Office of the Premier has been set up to resolve the impasse between the Maluti-a-Phofung local municipality and Eskom.

The task team was set up on Friday following a meeting convened by Deputy President David Mabuza to tackle service delivery issues at the municipality with a particular focus on its debt to power utility, Eskom.

This rising debt, has led to disruption of electricity supply and provision of other basic services, including water provision. The disruption of services had led to recurring protests by residents over a period of time.

The meeting follows commitments made by the Deputy President during the oral replies to the National Council of Provinces on 4 November 2020 and subsequently to the National Assembly on Thursday, 26 November 2020.

At this meeting, Deputy President Mabuza was joined by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Parks Tau; Premier Sisa Ntombela; the Free State CoGTA MEC Thembeni Nxangisa; as well as the Eskom CEO Andre De Ruyter.

While responding to a question on service delivery challenges in QwaQwa, the Deputy President made an undertaking to meet with the Free State Province, the municipality and Eskom to facilitate a resolution to the current challenge of outstanding debt that has impacted on sustainable delivery of services in Maluti-a-Phofung.

“We fully support Eskom’s efforts to collect revenue by following its credit control measures, and to ensure that organs of state do expedite payment of outstanding debts owed to Eskom, and that they settle all outstanding debts to municipalities,” said Deputy President Mabuza in  his response to the National Assembly.

Following the setting up pf the task team, the meeting agreed to hold a follow-up meeting on 04 December 2020 to further discuss proposals made by the parties towards a sustainable solution to the current challenge of rising debt.

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