By Staff Reporter
Makana municipality has been found in contempt of court for disobeying a 2019 court order which compelled them to pay the town’s electricity bill.
The Makhanda Business Forum won the court order against the municipality, Makana mayor Yandiswa Vara and municipal manager Phumelelo Maxwell Kate, on 9 March.
The Makhanda Business Forum also brought the 2019 court order, after Eskom publicly stated that they would cut off Makhanda’s electricity for blocks of eight hours until the municipality paid their bill.
Eskom had agreed not to disconnect the town’s electricity if the municipality started paying off the arrears and provided written affidavits and notices to the court to prove they had complied with an agreed payment plan.
The Makhanda Business Forum said the municipality seemed to be making regular and accurate payments until 2021.
“But by the end of March 2022, Makana municipality’s outstanding account with Eskom was again over R40 million, citing low collection of debt. Amounts paid to Eskom did not cover current amounts due, nor were they the accurate payment plan amounts,” said Makhanda Business Forum chairperson Richard Gaybba.
Makhanda High Court judge Justin Laing found the municipality in contempt for not complying with the 2019 court order.
Laing further ordered that Kate and any future municipal managers must provide an affidavit to the court every month and show evidence that the municipality is paying off the Eskom debt.