The National Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has kicked off its nationwide public hearings on Eskom’s request for a yearly 15% tariff increase over the next three years. These increases will no doubt have devastating consequences on ordinary South Africans, considering the unaffordable cost of living under Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC, and the increased number of unemployed people in South Africa.
To add insult to injury, there is still a possibility that South Africa will once again be crippled by rolling blackouts over the coming months. South Africans are clearly being made to pay for the ANC’s inability to fix the power utility. This was evident in the ANC’s manifesto launch over the weekend.
Eskom has become the biggest threat to the country’s financial position, yet the ANC mentioned the utility only once in their manifesto, simply as a throw-away comment as if the country’s financial stability does not hang in the balance.
It is clear that the ANC is not looking at reforming the utility that has for many years been the primary source for looting by the governing party. In fact, the manifesto explores the idea to use private savings, investments and hard-earned pension funds to keep Eskom running, or to keep to looting pot full for now. That means that ordinary South Africans’ pensions and savings could very well be used to settle the dept that Eskom has raked up under the ANC.
In 2017 Eskom made a loss of R2.3 billion and the loss for 2018 is projected to exceed R11.2 billion, the utility has debt to the amount of R419 billion, and it is planning on increasing its debt further to R600 billion in the next three years, yet South Africa is again on the verge of devastating blackouts. Lenders have lost all confidence in Eskom, evident in the fact that the utility is already rated junk status which has led to them struggling to borrow money. This means, increasingly, the only available options would be to raid public pensions or hike up tariffs. Both these options would have devastating effects on our people.
It is, therefore, no wonder that Eskom is looking at ordinary citizens to foot the bill of its complete and utter failures and lack of planning.
Unlike the ANC, the DA has a plan to fix Eskom, this was introduced in our ISMO Bill, which has large scale support in the industry. Instead of fixing Eskom, the ANC has decided to make South Africans pay, to come after their pension funds, all this while we are plunged into darkness.
Natasha Mazzone MP
DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
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