COSATU throws down gauntlet on Eskom tariff hikes

MARCH 24, 2015

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has threatened to take to the streets should Eskom raise the tariffs on April 1. Eskom confirmed that tariffs for direct customers will be increased by 12.69% on April 1, and tariffs for municipalities will be raised by 14.25% in July.  

COSATU spokesperson Patrick Craven says they are sure this will be a very popular campaign among people.

He believes the extra costs have nothing to do with unavoidable factors.

“I think we have to get back to treating Eskom as a basic public service,” says Craven.

In a series of tweets under the hashtag, #RejectEskomTariffIncrease, COSATU said that its Central Executive Committee had resolved to campaign against Eskom’s proposed tariff hikes as these would place a further burden on consumers who are already stretched in trying to make ends meet.

“#COSATU rejects any plan by #Eskom to increase electricity tariffs as it will burden consumers deeper into #poverty #CostOfLivingTooHigh,” the labour federation tweeted on Tuesday morning.

On Monday it said; “#RejectEskomTariffIncrease #eskom's tariff increase will push many families into #destitution; Many poor families arent receiving free power.

“#RejectEskomTariffIncrease #Eskom's tariff increase will be a devastation to small & medium enterprises, whose financial base will be eroded.

“#RejectEskomTariffIncrease Workers are already facing the impact of an increase in personal income tax & with #Eskom's increase, all are dead.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says the National Energy Regulator of SA (NERSA) should decline any more tariff increases for Eskom in 2015.

NERSA confirmed Eskom was formalising an application to reopen the multi-year price determination, allowing for a further increase in electricity tariffs, DA MP David Ross said.

The application was done in consultation with National Treasury and the SA Local Government Association.

"NERSA confirmed today that the application was due on March 15, but the Minister of Finance could grant an exemption to accommodate implementation in the current financial year," Ross said in a statement.

Ross said he would write to Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to request that he declines Eskom's application for a further tariff hike.

- additional reporting SAPA and SABC.