Despite the fact that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has already granted a 2.2 percent bulk tariff increase for municipalities, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown requested a last-minute postponement to table this before Parliament – on the day of the deadline on March 15, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.
Brown now had until April 5 to table the increases and the DA would submit parliamentary questions to get to the bottom of this seemingly unnecessary postponement which could be potentially disastrous for local municipalities and Eskom, DA spokesman Kevin Mileham said.
“It is also suspicious that minister Brown only requested a postponement on the day of the deadline considering that National Treasury had responded to this request for postponement on 2 March 2017,” he said.
The DA would therefore also submit questions to get clarity on why Brown waited almost two weeks before approaching Parliament to ask for a postponement.
Further questions would be submitted to the National Treasury on the affect of the extension for municipal revenues for 2017/18 and whether the condoned delay still allowed for implementation in this 2017/18 financial year as opposed to the 2018/19 financial year.
The DA expressed deepest concern at various potential problems this created, including delayed budgeting processes that might leave municipalities open to costly legal problems.
Delayed budgeting processes at municipal level could also threaten front-line services and cause uncertainty among consumers, which added to already substantial economic uncertainty.
The tariff increases should be tabled before municipalities could go ahead with their budgetary processes. It was therefore vital to get to the bottom of this delay to ensure that service delivery was not hampered, Mileham said.
– African News Agency (ANA)