Eskom’s media statement refers to a “repayment arrangement” under discussion and seeks to encourage interested parties to “put pressure on the municipality to make good on the repayment of the electricity debt”. Eskom is well aware of the correct facts in this matter.
The RLM is cautious of being drawn by Eskom’s conduct into a trial by media statements but cannot allow the incorrect position set out by Eskom to remain uncorrected.
The correct position includes the following:
- The amount claimed by Eskom from the RLM, an amount of R 100 565 402 – 77, plus interest, (the “Disputed Amount”), was withheld by the RLM from Eskom in June 2018 (two years ago). The RLM contends that it was entitled to withhold this payment and that Eskom was not entitled to that payment.
- The RLM has declared a dispute with Eskom on Eskom’s claim to the Disputed Amount. That dispute has still to be determined but is being advanced.
- Eskom is now seeking to use the threat of interrupting the supply of electricity to Rustenburg as a means to force payment of the Disputed Amount without the dispute being determined.
- Eskom has refused to withdraw the threat of interruption of Rustenburg’s electricity supply unless it is paid the Disputed Amount notwithstanding that the dispute has not been determined by a court of law or similar process. To manage this threat and the devastating impact of Eskom making good on its threat the RLM has proposed that it will make the payments that Eskom has required, but will do so under protest, without prejudice to the RLM’s rights and on the basis that Eskom repay such sums to the RLM if the dispute is determined in the RLM’s favour. The RLM has made the proposal to create space to manage the dispute, to ensure that Eskom do not act on their unjustified threat and to avoid the devastation that Eskom’s threat would have on the citizens and businesses of Rustenburg in the middle of winter and as businesses are struggling to restart after the impact of the National Lockdown and whilst facing Eskom load shedding.
- The RLM is one of the municipalities that is paying Eskom for electricity consumed and its account with Eskom is otherwise up to date.
- The RLM will continue to engage with Eskom in an attempt to manage Eskom’s threat and if necessary will apply for a Court interdict to prevent Eskom executing on their threat.”