The city of Tshwane currently owes Eskom R635 million, although the Chief of staff at the mayor’s office says the debt is mostly from government departments. Some examples are the Department of Investructure Development which owes R245 million. And the Department of Public Works owing R110 million.
Some of the Affected Businesses
Many major businesses in Tshwane are without power as the city cuts off the electricity supply to those with unpaid bills. Affected parties include the five-star Sheraton Hotel, which according to the city, has not paid any of its service bills since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Amassing a debt of R23 million in rates, taxes, water and electricity bills. Also Lyttelton Shopping Centre, which owes R750,000. And Blue Beacon commercial property, which owes R2.3 million. These are just some of the 47 companies that owe money.
Some are Paying Up
Because of the power and water cuts, some companies have made a plan to pay their debt to the City of Tshwane. One of the first to get with the program was Forest Hill Mall, which managed to pay R4 million in time to completely avoid losing its electricity supply.
Another one was Denel. A state-owned arms manufacturer that settled its debt with the city a day after its power was cut. In the Cities Twitter post about Denels electricity cut, its comments on having faced much “resistance and intimidation”. But cut off the arms manufacturer’s power anyway, saying “We treat all our customers the same without fear or favour.”
Next was TACORA Investments, which, according to the city, owed R2.7 million. But paid their bill after the city cut the water supply to the Lake View Business Centre.
We “Are Still at It”
Earlier this afternoon, the electricity supply to the State Theatre was cut. Since they owe R2.1 million. Plus, the city warns that it plans to continue its merciless mission of debt collection. And that next week officials will be heading to several residential complexes and estates.
It may sound brutal, but the City of Tshwane spokesperson, Selby Bokaba, said cutting off the power comes as a last resort. As there have already been many attempts to negotiate a deal with those involved. And the city states that “These debts threaten the very existence of the municipality and its services.”