Between 2016 and 2018, Makana municipality repeatedly failed to pay Eskom for the electricity that we had used, even though most customers had paid Makana for their electricity. We think it is unfair that Makana takes money from us to pay for electricity then uses it for other purposes.
After several failed payment plans from Makana, Eskom issued a statement of intent to cut electricity on an increasing scale up to eight hours per day. This is in addition to any load-shedding. These threatened electricity cuts would have been tough for residents to put up with and disastrous for the businesses and institutions of our city, many of whom are struggling already.
The Grahamstown Business Forum (GBF) and the Makana Residents Association (MRA), along with two large businesses in Makhanda took Eskom and Makana Municipality, and others to court in 2019 to prevent punitive electricity cuts due to non-payment by Makana.
Thankfully the Honourable Madam Justice Beshe granted our request for relief and ruled in our favour. The Court Order mandated that Makana municipality pay monthly Eskom bills in full and on time. There is also a payment plan ordering Makana to pay off the outstanding debt in instalments.
Since granting the Court Order in 2019, GBF and MRA representatives have been monitoring the
payments. Until the departure of our Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Gerard Goliath, the payments
and the required reporting were diligently adhered to. Eskom even praised Makana municipality in
the press as one of the best municipalities in South Africa for keeping up with debt repayments.
That was the position until December 2021, when Makana municipality made good progress towards clearing all its outstanding debt to Eskom.
As soon as Mr Goliath departed from Makana, the terms of the Court Order have been breached, and
the debt to Eskom has once again increased sharply. All attempts to engage Makana municipality have
failed, and the non-payment of Eskom continues. The implications are grave for all of us.
On behalf of everyone with an interest in Makana, both GBF and MRA need to return to court to stop
Makana Municipality running up any more debt with Eskom. The current Mayor, Speaker, Municipal
Manager and acting CFO were all senior members of the establishment when the original Court Order
was granted in 2019, and are therefore all fully cognisant of the terms of the Order and the implications
of breaking the Order.
To take this action, we need to stand together and show solidarity. GBF and MRA have limited funds
available, so we appeal to you to contribute to enabling us to take this case back successfully
If you have any questions you want GBF or MRA to answer before you donate to the account below, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Account Name: Makana Residents’ Assocation
- Account Number: 183117247
- Bank: Standard Bank
- Branch Code: 050917
- Reference: Name & Legal Fund
Please send your proof of payment and contact details to email@example.com
Any excess money will be used toward establishing a joint GBF and MRA legal fund which will be
regularly reported on. This will be used only for public litigation to ensure that the rights of residents
and businesses are protected.
Whilst we hope not to have to go back to court, it seems likely that we may need to do so on other matters in the not so distant future.
Thank you for your support and for any contribution you make.
Chair, Makana Residents’ Association
Chair, Grahamstown Business Forum