Afribusiness vows to stop Eskom hiking electricity tariffs


The business rights watchdog says more tariff hikes will result in job losses as the economy is already strained.

AfriBusiness has said that it will intervene if power utility Eskom approaches the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to increase electricity tariffs yet again.

This comes as the Supreme Court of Appeal last month upheld an appeal by Nersa and Eskom, opening the door for the approval of further electricity tariff increases.

Eskom is now able to apply for tariff increases to accumulate through regulatory clearing account (RCA) applications, and is seeking a further 20 percent tariff increase.

AfriBusiness’s labour law advice unit manager, Charles Castle, said South Africa was currently in a technical recession, and that consumers bore the brunt of the poor implementation of economic policies and the widespread corruption in some state sectors.

“To expect citizens to keep using less power, but to pay more per unit, is preposterous. Eskom should rather withdraw from neighbouring Zimbabwe and invest all of its resources in South Africa,” Castle said in a statement.

“Eskom is currently faced by allegations of fraud, corruption and maladministration and should be held accountable. The citizens of this country cannot be held liable for management’s blunders and ill-conceived ‘Zupta’-dealings.”

Castle said AfriBusiness recently requested information in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act pertaining to Gupta-owned Tegeta’s controversial acquisition of the Optimum coal mine from Glencore.

“No information has been provided by Eskom, necessitating AfriBusiness to pursue a court application,” said Armand Greyling, law and policy analyst at AfriBusiness.

Afribusiness said more tariff hikes would result in more job losses as the economy was already strained and the unemployment rate was more than 27 percent.

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