DA rejects Eskom’s attempted electricity price hike
We have learned today of Eskom’s proposal to increase the price of electricity by 15% per year for the next three years. This is an attempt to make the public pay for Eskom’s corruption and inefficiency and it must be rejected out of hand.
South Africans are already struggling with the VAT increase, relentless fuel price hikes and the spiraling cost of basic goods. People simply cannot afford a steep electricity price increase.
The terrible mismanagement and blatant corruption of Eskom during the Zuma years has sent Eskom into a debt spiral, with costs far outstripping revenue. Eskom is owed R13 billion by municipalities around the country. Recently, the unions managed to negotiate an above-inflation wage increase and once-off bonus that will send Eskom into even more debt.
The current Eskom board is doing its best to turn Eskom around and we support its efforts. However, we cannot support forcing the public to pay for Eskom’s inefficiency and corruption.
In the short term, the Eskom board needs to find innovative ways to increase revenue and cut costs. Eskom needs to cut its inflated wage bill, reclaim its municipal debts, halt illegal connections, encourage high-end industrial users back into the fold and consider options for exporting surplus electricity.
Ultimately, the only way to keep the cost of electricity down is to introduce market competition in the generation and/or transmission of electricity. The time has come to seriously consider the restructuring and privatisation of Eskom.
The people of South Africa are already battling to make ends meet. It is simply unfair to make people pay for the corruption, inefficiency and bloatedness that has come to characterise Eskom.
Statement issued by Natasha Mazzone MP, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, 31 August 2018