NEWS & ANALYSIS

DA wins first victory for lower electricity tariffs in Sol Plaatje – Andrew Louw

NCape leader says municipal budget, as approved on 31st May 2018, declared unlawful by Speaker

DA wins first victory for lower electricity tariffs

13 June 2018

The DA is celebrating its first victory in the war on power prices in Sol Plaatje. This comes after the DA today, during a council sitting, demanded that the illegal adoption of the municipal budget last week, be declared null and void. See photos herehere and here.

Despite an objection from Mayor Mangaliso Matika, the Speaker ruled in favour of the DA, confirming that the budget, as approved on 31st May 2018, was in fact unlawful. The Speaker postponed the meeting to 20 June 2018.

The reason for the illegitimacy of the budget approval meeting is that the meeting was not convened or attended by the Speaker, who was in fact available. The meeting was irregularly presided over by an interim Speaker. The DA refused to attend the meeting of the 31st, due to this stark irregularity.

It is increasingly clear that an ANC faction, led by Matika, is doing its utmost to steamroll through the illegitimate budget that has many negative consequences for the people of Kimberley.

The DA urgently wants the matter, pertaining to the electricity fees, placed back on the table for proper discussion and consideration. This is because the DA never had the opportunity to properly examine the fee structure, despite having requested for the matter to be discussed.

The controversial restructuring of the electricity accessibility fee and the tariff increase have potentially dire repercussions for residents and business.

While indigents will be exempt from the accessibility fee, the municipality is also a long way off from updating its indigent register to not only separate indigents from the “can pays” but also from registering the growing number of indigent households as a result of increasing poverty levels.
The electricity restructuring comes on top of the already heavy taxation that residents face as a result of inflation, fuel increases and the 1% VAT increase. It needs to be carefully considered, given that it will place cash-strapped residents and businesses under even more pressure, further threatening economic growth in the city.

The DA refuses to be made a spectator when the people of our communities are taken for a ride by Mayor Mangaliso Matika and his comrades.

The DA will challenge the process by which the ANC has so ruthlessly endorsed the budget and the electricity costs, which we fear will serve to fund the Mayors extravagant lifestyle choices, including his “municipal” house, furnishings and Q7.

The DA, together with civil society and business, will march to the Sol Plaatje offices on Friday.

Sol Plaatje has been hijacked. Sol Plaatje belongs to the people of Kimberley, not just to Matika’s ANC. The DA will fight to ensure that there is proper discussion, public participation and thoughtful consideration on all the consequences of the new budget, not least of all electricity fees.

The ANC’s actions once again prove that only change under a DA-led government will ensure fair services and affordable electricity costs for all Kimberley residents.

The power to change the Northern Cape is in the hands of the people. A DA-led government will always place the interests of the people first, especially the poor.

Issued by Andrew Louw, DA Northern Cape Provincial Leader & Spokesperson of COGHSTA, 13 June 2018