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Staff Reporter

The Free State High Court has ordered Eskom to release about R200 million belonging to Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality which had been locked in a bank account in a bid to settle mounting debt.

In a judgement delivered Friday, the high court ruled that the attachment of the municipality’s bank account be immediately uplifted. 

The municipality is said to owe the national power utility R5.4 billion for bulk electricity supply.

Eskom attached the municipality’s bank account on July 21 to help recover a portion of the R5.4 billion. 

These steps, according to Eskom, were taken in execution of a court order granted in 2018 and in implementation of Eskom’s revenue recovery strategy.

The bank account had a balance of about R220 million when it was attached.

A few days later, Maluti-a-Phofung approached the High Court seeking relief following a dispute over the exact amount it owes Eskom.

This after a payment plan agreed to by the two parties fell by the wayside after the municipality raised objections on the amount owed and other conditions.

Following the latest judgment, Eskom filed an application for leave to appeal arguing the freezing of the account was aimed at forcing the municipality to fulfil its payment obligations.

“The municipality’s continuous non-payment of their current account is resulting in further escalation of their overdue debt and poses a serious threat to Eskom’s financial viability and the survival of the utility,” said Eskomin in a statement.

“The increasing debt owed by Maluti-a-Phofung forces Eskom to take drastic steps to address this undeniable risk,” it added.

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