- EFF leader Julius Malema wants Eskom to unplug non-paying government municipalities
- The power utility noted that R26.4 billion remains outstanding from SA municipalities
- Malema put forward that if Eskom clamps down on these municipalities, it could afford to help poor citizens access electricity
Economic Freedom Fighter leader Julius Malema led his Red Berets in a march to Eskom's Megawatt Park on Friday.
The party handed over a memorandum of demands to Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter, saying that Eskom should disconnect municipalities and government departments that have outstanding debts:
“A lot of departments owe Eskom; start with those departments in Pretoria, close electricity, let them pay. With that money you must give indigent people free electricity."
The Citizen reports that Parliament's committee on public accounts heard how Eskom's municipal debt stood at around R26.4 billion at the end of last year.
Payments from top accounts had dropped to 31.3% during the same time, with hardly any amounts paid for outstanding accounts for months.
Briefly.co.za reported that Soweto owes R18.9 billion to the power utility, prompting Eskom to begin disconnecting homes.
This had resulted in a massive outcry from the community, with residents attempting to secure a payment arrangement through the courts.
However, Malema says Sowetans who could afford to pay for their power should stop hiding behind the poor:
“Don’t just say we demand flat rates; we demand free electricity. If we give free electricity it means you are paying for the rich.”
The EFF leader called on the state-owned entity to publicly shame government officials who fail to ensure timely payments:
“We are contributing in collapsing this company. It’s not only white monopoly capital that is going to collapse this, even ourselves who are not honest with the struggles of the poor, we are going to collapse it. There is no free electricity, that [means] coal for us to mine. We need money. Those who can afford to pay, pay for your electricity.”
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