Statement by Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer
17 January 2022
On Friday, 14 January 2022, I submitted a letter to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) following Eskom’s application for a 20.5% electricity price increase. On behalf of the Stellenbosch Municipality, to which I was duly elected to serve in the best interest of the residents of our municipality, I formally lodged our rejection of the application from Eskom and requested that this application be withdrawn.
Eskom’s proposed increases of 20.5%, 15.07% and 10% for the next three years are going to have a detrimental impact on the economy given that electricity underpins a number of key sectors.
Our residents simply cannot afford these increases. They are unjustified and unfair. Like the majority of South Africans, many residents and businesses are struggling to make ends meet. The pandemic and national lockdown led to the closure of many businesses in our towns and the loss of thousands of jobs. Our residents are already bearing the brunt of the rising costs of fuel, food, and basic consumer goods. One also has to take into consideration the enormous financial loss on municipality funds as a result of the pandemic.
It is an extreme injustice that ordinary South Africans will be forced to bear the cost of Eskom’s inability to fix the mess it created. While constantly being expected to pay more for electricity, South Africans seem to be getting less of it. An increase in line with the consumer price index (CPI) of 5.5% would have been a more reasonable tariff increase for Eskom.
The time is indeed now for Eskom to take drastic steps to reduce its debt and improve its financial sustainability but passing the buck to struggling consumers should not be the default solution.
Stellenbosch Municipality rejects this proposed increase and requests that it be withdrawn.