CoJ open to talks to write off Soweto’s electricity debt – Phalatse

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CoJ open to talks to write off Soweto’s electricity debt – Phalatse

The long-standing dispute between residents and Eskom saw the power utility disconnect some households from the grid, sparking several protests across Soweto.

FILE: City of Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse. Picture: @CityofJoburgZA/Twitter
  • Eskom
  • Soweto
  • City of Joburg
  • Soweto protests
  • Eskom debt

JOHANNESBURG – The City of Joburg said that it was looking at means to write off of the multi-billion rand electricity debt accumulated by Soweto residents.

Residents and power utility Eskom have been at loggerheads over the sky-rocketing bill for years.

Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse said that the city hoped to find a deal that would see households start on a clean slate.

Phalatse has taken a hard line on Soweto’s electricity debt crisis, announcing that the city would not back down on expecting residents to pay for their utilities.

The long-standing dispute between residents and Eskom saw the power utility disconnect some households from the grid, sparking several protests across Soweto.

The latest protest three weeks ago drew hundreds of residents who blockaded major routes across Soweto before marching to the mayoral office in Braamfontein, demanding that the city address electricity outages.

While Phalatse called for an end to the culture of non-payment, she told journalists in Roodepoort on Wednesday that the city was open to talks to write off the outstanding debt.

“We’ve established internally, together with our own treasury, that the debt is actually worth nothing because nobody can recover that debt, so we need to have an honest conversation about this debt. We’ve spoken to the leadership about helping us manage that debt – there’s no such thing as free electricity. Anyone that can afford to pay must pay,” Phalatse said.

Phalatse is expected to meet with the Soweto community soon to discuss the way forward.

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