The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure wants state departments to settle their own municipal accounts, like paying Eskom directly.
The department made the call during its briefing to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday where it briefed the committee on the reported R3 billion in municipal debt owed by the department, which was mostly Eskom debt.
It said departments currently owed it R3.4 billion in relation to municipal services including electricity. But, despite the debt, the department said it continued to pay municipalities and Eskom on time.
Minister Patricia de Lille said her department did have plans to address the debt owed to municipalities.
“In August 2019, as part of the sixth administration, we started a campaign to settle all outstanding national government debt owed to municipalities and Eskom,” De Lille said.
De Lille said this would include making departments pay Eskom directly from 1 April to pressure them into paying.
“From 1 April 2020, all government departments and municipalities must pay their debt directly to Eskom,” she said.