Already hard-pressed South African residents simply cannot afford the Eskom-proposed increase of 32% in the electricity tariff.
Years of national government mismanagement and corruption have driven a huge increase in the general cost of living in our country, which has been further exacerbated by the job-killing energy crisis. South African residents and businesses are now being dealt hammer blows on all fronts – in service provision, in declining infrastructure, in a stymied job market, all of which are making life impossible to afford for many residents, and are bringing the poorest of the poor to their knees. South Africans across the board simply cannot absorb such a drastic increase, and it should not be granted to Eskom.
The Western Cape Government (WCG) is cognizant that Eskom is cash-strapped and needs to become financially viable, but this cannot happen at the expense of residents. Instead, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) should consider granting an increase that is not above the current inflation rate – which would be the maximum that residents could possibly bear.
Noting the insanity of this proposal, it is imperative, now more than ever, that the door is opened wide for more independent power producers (IPPs) to be brought online. This needs to be achieved with speed, and the national government needs to cut the unnecessary red tape that is hindering this process.
The Provincial Government urges Nersa to think of the millions of South Africans already struggling to keep up with the pace of inflation and cost of living. The regulator must reject the proposed hike and limit the increase Eskom has requested.
A balance needs to be struck which sees Eskom stabilise its financial needs without further burdening the citizens of our country.
The WCG wants to assure residents it will do everything it can to oppose this exorbitant tariff increase.