- First Soweto and now Free State municipalities are facing being unplugged by Eskom
- Owing close to R10 billion, the cash-strapped power utility is clamping down on defaulters
- However, this move could see around 1 million citizens enduring 14-hour-long power cuts over the festive season
The Mangaung Metropolitan, Mafube and Mantsopa municipalities in the Free State will soon learn the hard way to pay their electricity bills.
The Citizen reports that nearly a million citizens will soon be unplugged every day for 14 hours at a time as Eskom seeks to recover outstanding funds.
The state-owned entity announced that it will soon stop providing electricity due to "the municipalities' contravention of payment conditions".
The cuts are to be implemented on a daily basis from as early as 6am to 8pm as the utility attempts to recover R9.8 billion.
With the municipalities currently placed under administration, the situation seems unlikely to resolve itself.
These outages will come into play from next week Tuesday if the municipalities fail to cough up what's owed:
“Eskom supplies electricity to the municipalities and has an obligation to perform these duties on a financially sustainable basis. The municipalities have a reciprocal duty to pay Eskom."
Briefly.co.za reported that a similar tactic had been used in Soweto, where residents owed around R17 billion.
The community had approached the courts to attempt a negotiation, offering to pay a flat fee of R150 a month to Eskom.
However, the SOE is adamant that no citizen would be given preferential or special treatment when it comes to the high cost of keeping the lights on.
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