The Select Committee on Appropriations adopted its report on the Eskom Debt Relief Bill. The Bill, among other things, called for a direct charge against the National Revenue Fund for relief to Eskom.
Report of the Select Committee on Appropriations on the Eskom Debt Relief Bill [B5 – 2023] (National Assembly – Section 77)
Mr W Aucamp (DA, Northern Cape) highlighted the sentiments expressed by the Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU) as contained in the Committee's report. He acknowledged the point made by COSATU stating that a lot of the money received by municipalities from ratepayers goes to other costs (cross-subsidising other services), instead of paying dues to ESKOM. This may result in problems in the future. This should not be happening and municipalities must use other means to service their commitments, and not take away from ESKOM. Municipalities must ringfence ESKOM-related funds, by establishing a model that ensures the profit-making part of electricity should go to Eskom and power supply-related costs and not service other expenses such as salaries.
The Member expressed concern that the Report is lacking when it comes to addressing this issue faced by municipalities. There must be clear guidelines on what the terms of getting and implementing the loan, especially when it comes to dividing ESKOM into its three sectors. The Report is lacking a clear breakdown of the critical conditions that ESKOM must adhere to. He further stressed the complete alienation of corruption at ESKOM should be at the core of the strategy to help improve ESKOM.
The Member, as a result, suggested an additional recommendation in the Report stating that there should be ringfencing of funds that municipalities gather as a result of electricity bills to ensure that ESKOM gets paid for services they deliver. Further, the Committee notes that municipalities do have access to money they pocket as a result of electricity bills, and this money should go towards paying outstanding ESKOM debt instead of cross-subsidising other services the municipalities render.
Mr P Dlomo, as the Committee Content Advisor, accepted the point raised on ringfencing funds received by municipalities for electricity-related expenses from the community.
The Report on the Eskom Debt Relief Bill was adopted. With the Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters, and the Freedom Front Plus reserving their positions on the Report.
Minutes from a prior Committee meeting were considered and adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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