South Africa News

Eskom denies signing power purchase agreement with City of Joburg

Eskom has denied claims made by the African National Congress (ANC) in Joburg that a power-purchase agreement has been signed between the city and the state-owned utility.

In a statement on Friday, the party said newly elected City of Joburg Mayor Mpho Moerane had signed an agreement with Eskom paving the way for City Power to take over electricity supply and infrastructure to areas such as Soweto, Orange Farm, and Ivory Park.

“The African National Congress (ANC) Greater Johannesburg Region commends the City of Johannesburg ANC-Led Government of Local Unity led by the Executive Mayor, Cllr. Mpho Moerane for signing a Power Purchase Agreement with Eskom, which will enable the City’s process to takeover Eskom supplied areas to City Power,” the statement read.

However, Eskom said it was not true – and that only a memorandum of understanding had been signed between the entities.

Residents in many areas – including Soweto – have complained about load reduction, arguing that a permanent power solution is needed.

The provision of power has become a major election issue as 1 November polls approach.

In its statement, the ANC claims Eskom has officially entered into a power purchase agreement with the City of Joburg, enabling the city to takeover areas where electricity was previously supplied by Eskom.

“The signed agreement ensures that the electricity bought in bulk from Eskom allows the city’s electricity distributor, City Power, safe and reliable distribution of electricity to the residents of Johannesburg.”

Shortly after the statement was released, Eskom spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha explained that any possible transaction or migration is years away – if it happens at all.

Mantshantsha said the municipality must still address infrastructure challenges while the mounting R7.5 million debt owed by residents must still be paid off.

For many years, the Joburg grid has edged closer to collapse as a result of vandalism, poor maintenance, and outstanding bill payments.

This has a led to numerous protests in Soweto causing a huge headache for the governing ANC especially ahead of the local government elections.

-EWN

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