Only 16 percent of Soweto pay electricity bills

Only 16 percent of Soweto pay electricity bills

Reports have revealed that only 16 percent of the township of Soweto (population, 1.3 million) actually pay their electricity bills, and have run up a four billion Rand debt.

The Soweto arrears date from 2003 and cover about 150,000 households directly supplied by Eskom, with 70,000 of these on prepaid systems. Of the 80,000 Soweto households without prepaid meters, only one in six pays for the electricity it uses.

The black refusal to pay for electricity is not limited to Soweto: the municipalities of Ngwathe, Dihlabeng, and Maluti-a-Phofung in the Free State, are collectively second-in-line in the non-payment ratings, and together owe more than R700-million to Eskom.

The few remaining white areas, of course, pay in full—and extra—to cover this shortfall, and then pay once again through taxation. The National Treasury has recently announced that it will be giving Eskom another R10-billion in June as part of a “financial aid package.” Whites in South Africa make up a disproportionately large number of individual and business taxpayers…

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