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The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Zweli Mkhize, says plans are underway to help municipalities repay the money they owe Eskom.

According to the Mkhize, as at the end of May 2018, the total overdue debt was R14.319 billion, with the top 10 municipalities owing R9.985 billion.

Mkhize, who is also the chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Electricity Reticulation and Distribution (IMTT), says the team took a decision to resolve the issue of debt by municipalities by focusing on the root cause of the problem.

“The main problems affecting the electricity business and the ability to pay their creditors are the following broken down into three challenges: constitutional, structural and systematic matters on electricity reticulation. These three matters are believed to be the genesis of the problem,” he notes.

Mkhize says the advisory panel is currently finalising the report on the constitutional matter between Eskom and municipalities — represented by the South African Local Government Association — on who has the authority to reticulate electricity in the municipal demarcated areas.

The report is due to be submitted to the Minister and IMTT in September 2018.

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