‘Linguistic error’ – Lesufi denies lying about Eskom debt write-offs
Lesufi came under fire last week after Eskom said it had not processed any debt write-offs for either residents or municipalities.
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi Photo: Nigel Sibanda
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has denied lying to the public about the cancellation of residents’ debt to Eskom.
Lesufi came under fire last week after Eskom said it had not processed any debt write-offs for residents or municipalities. This, despite Lesufi telling a community gathering that “all” historical debt owed to Eskom had been scrapped.
‘He made an error’
Lesufi’s spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the premier, who is out of the country at the moment, has taken note of the comments regarding his assertions.
“When explaining the debt relief programme offered by Eskom at the ANC workshop, he made an error and referred to debt relief to communities rather than municipalities.
“Linguistic errors sometimes occur when one tries to simplify complex government policy into programmes that are accessible and understandable to the public,” Pamla said.
The video of Lesufi’s comments was widely circulated on social media.
“We are happy that national government has agreed that all the people owing Eskom for years – all those debts have now been scrapped.”
Eskom refuted Lesufi’s comments, adding municipal debt relief has conditions that the municipalities must fulfil over the next three years.
Pamla explained that Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, in his 2023 budget speech, stated all municipalities owing Eskom would receive conditional debt relief.
“Any municipality that owes Eskom money in arrears, interest, or penalties is eligible for this relief, provided that the council successfully applies in writing to the National Treasury.
“The National Treasury released the guidelines and application process for municipal debt relief in Municipal Finance Management Act Circular No. 124. Several Gauteng municipalities, including Emfuleni Municipality, requested relief within this framework, which was granted,” Pamla added.