ANC resolves to 'mobilise and encourage' people to pay for services

02 October 2019 - 13:51
By Kgothatso Madisa
Eskom has started cutting electricity off to areas where people do not pay for services
Image: Business Times Eskom has started cutting electricity off to areas where people do not pay for services

The ANC national executive committee resolved at its meeting over the weekend that municipalities and government departments must lead by example and pay for services rendered if there was an expectation for citizens to pay.

Eskom, which is experiencing liquidity issues, is owed millions by municipalities for unpaid electricity bills.

The ANC has now resolved that there is a need to create a culture of paying for services, which must be led by the government itself.

“Services rendered must be paid for and it was now clear that national government must provide leadership,” said minister of finance Tito Mboweni.

“Where the government owes Eskom, they must pay, where they owe municipalities they must pay. Where Sars owes taxpayers VAT refunds they must pay. So all of us must generate this culture of paying for services rendered.”

Soweto residents owe Eskom R18bn in unpaid electricity bills. The state-owned power utility in July started cutting off power supply to some areas in the township to highlight its seriousness.

As it stands, Eskom is struggling financially and requires constant bailouts from the national Treasury.

An inter-ministerial task team was appointed earlier this year to seek solutions on the outstanding R38bn in municipality debts.

Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza said at the time that there was a culture of not wanting to pay for services.

Although there is no clear legal route that the ANC has undertaken to force people to pay, the party’s secretary-general Ace Magashule said the NEC resolved that it would go on a mass campaign “to mobilise and encourage” people to pay for services rendered.

“The relevant authorities in government will ensure that monies owed are settled in a manageable way over the coming period,” said Magashule.

Minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma stressed that there was a list for people who are too poor to pay but that there was an expectation on everyone who was not registered on that list to pay for services.

“Indigents register and are known then we know that these ones cannot pay. But those who can pay must pay, so that’s all that we are saying.”​