The Tshwane metro has shown no mercy to the defaulting Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), after refusing to restore electricity supply to its head office despite a payment made towards its debt.
Prasa paid R2.4 million towards the R7.9 million it currently owes the metro after power supply was cut and water restricted on Thursday morning, Pretoria Rekord reported.
This is the third time this year that Prasa has been disconnected by the metro due to unpaid bills.
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Debt settling talks
Prasa spokesperson Andiswa Makanda said the state-owned enterprise’s management was in talks with the municipality about settling the debt.
“Prasa is facing financial challenges due to the low number of train services we are running. As soon as we get our tail corridors back on track, we will be in a better financial position,” Makanda said.
The metro has insisted that despite the R2.4 million payment, power would not be restored to the building until the full amount was paid.
Metro spokesperson Lindela Mashigo told Pretoria Rekord the multi-million rand debt was being paid by Prasa “in dribs and drabs despite promising the metro that the full amount would be paid”.
Mashigo said the metro had its own payments to make to service providers and creditors, and that no consumers would be spared from the municipality’s aggressive revenue collection campaign.
As of April this year, Tshwane had clawed back R3.3 billion from Gauteng government departments alone. R700 million was also recovered elsewhere in the metro in an attempt to balance its financial books.
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Own debts to pay
“There are pressing service delivery matters, paying creditors such as Eskom for power supply to our residents,” Mashigo emphasised.
Last week, Tshwane missed the deadline to pay Eskom the R1.6 billion owed for bulk purchases in July, Moneyweb reported. A full R1.2 billion is still outstanding.
Eskom rejected the metro’s payment plan proposal, saying it would proceed with legislated steps to prepare for the disconnecting of the capital city.
Tshwane MMC for finance Peter Sutton said disconnecting the city would be unlawful, and that the city was preparing a court order to prevent this from happening.
The metro will also not be bailed out by National Treasury, due to state coffers being empty.
Edited by Nica Richards.
Part of this article first appeared on Caxton publication Pretoria Rekord, by Sinesipho Schrieber. Read the original article here.