The Congress of the People (Cope) on Friday said government should review Eskom’s electricity tariff increase warning that some households and businesses might not be able to survive this.
15.6% more after the North Gauteng High Court granted the power utility permission to raise electricity prices.
This will see the embattled state-owned entity recover about R10 billion from customers.
With thousands of people having lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and others facing financial uncertainty,
consumers are also facing substantial fuel price hikes this month.
Cope’s spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the tariffs would further kill the economy and hit the poor and unemployed the hardest.
“Government can never justify this increase.
Very soon, electricity will be reserved for the rich only.
It is totally unfair that the struggling people must be punished because of years of corruption that took place at Eskom.”
electricity tariff increase
This latest hike adds insult to national injury given the devastating effect of recent load shedding and so-called load reduction, with Eskom unable to provide reliable electricity supply.
In winter, the electricity usage of the average South African spikes and this year, consumers will have to make even tougher decisions.
They’ll now have to cough up 15.6% more for unreliable power compared to the previous year.
It’s not only a tough year for the fiscus but even more so for those who have to choose between going to bed hungry or sitting without electricity until month-end.
Wayne du Plessis is from the Southern African Faith Community’s Environment Institute.
It recently conducted a study which found that people in desperate situations tended to
make unhealthy and dangerous decisions just to buy electricity which they could not afford.
“We found that people have to choose between essentials such as food, clothing,
schooling instead of buying electricity. It’s always coming out about mothers giving their
babies tea instead of formula because they cannot afford it.”
Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla said that this decision was devastating, given the jobs bloodbath during the pandemic.
“What’s even more concerning is the fact that we’re not seeing what we’re paying for –
continue to experience load shedding, we continue to live in a situation where there’s no reliable electricity supply.”
Cosatu said that it was meeting with Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan on
Thursday afternoon to raise their grievances with Eskom,
which included load shedding and price hikes.