A government official stated on Friday that the Nigerian consulate in Johannesburg had complained to the South African government after the city off the consulate’s energy due to unpaid payments.
According to a city official, city officials went to the embassy on Wednesday to shut off supplies because there were over 400,000 rand ($23,300) in unpaid costs.
The officers were refused entry by the consulate, which in a statement called them “an invasion squad.” Remotely, the supplies were turned off.
The consulate has “dispatched a diplomatic message to us,” said Clayson Monyela, a spokeswoman for the South African foreign ministry, to AFP on Friday.
“Diplomatic channels are being used to handle this situation. In order to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, we’ll involve all parties,” he stated.
The Vienna Convention on consular relations, which ensures the inviolability of consular facilities, was specifically mentioned by the consulate as being completely violated by the city’s action.
Following assurances that the account will be settled by the end of the month, electricity supplies were reconnected the same day.
City power official Isaac Mangena told AFP that during a money collecting campaign on Wednesday, “we unplugged them.”
After the disconnect, the consul-general went to the city offices, “acknowledged the obligation,” and negotiated to pay the arrears by the end of the month, according to Mangena.
He stated, “They reached a deal to settle the account by the end of January.”
They are being treated like any other consumer, not as a special case, he claimed.
The city, which serves as the financial and economic center of the nation, has unpaid debts totaling more than four billion rand.
Power company Eskom has been forced to ration supply in South Africa due to the country’s catastrophic power shortages.