Whilst SAFTU welcomes the decision of NERSA not to grant the extremely insensitive and insulting Eskom’s request to increase electricity tariffs by a staggering 17.1% for 2019/20, 15.4% for 2020/21 and 15.5% for 2021/22, we however are utterly disappointed and totally reject the decision to increase tariffs way above the rate of inflation.
Eskom has received an increase of 9.41%, 8.1% and 5.2% for the next three financial years. What is almost hidden is the fact that NERSA approved a 5,4% increase for 2018/2019. Therefore the increase for 2019 is effectively 13% very close to the 17.1% demanded by ESKOM
We take into consideration that there has been a 400% increase in electricity tariffs over the last 10 years. Therefore, this latest round of increase represent yet another assault of the living standards of all South Africans, but more so the poor and the working class.
The assault of the living standards has become systematic and endemic. Yesterday the price of petrol increased by 74 cents a litre and diesel by 93 cents. When yet another fuel levy increase comes to effect in April 2019, another 30 cents will be added to the current prices.
As part of the government of the tripartite Alliance policy to punish the poor for the sins of the capitalist crisis and for their own maladministration including state capture, they have increased the VAT last year by over 7%, the so called sin taxes by between 4% and 10%. This year they again as they do every year increased sin taxes. The alliance is not touching the taxes of the poor which it has driven down from 45% at the dawn of democracy to 28% today.
The combination of neoliberalism that the Alliance has stuck with for 25 years has led to growing inequalities, deeper levels of poverty and catastrophic levels rates of unemployment in particular amongst young and black South Africans.
We want energy to remain in the state hands and reject privatisation of Eskom. We demand the renewable energy should remain in the state hands together with the provision of other basic services such as water, telecommunications, dissemination of information, education, healthcare, security, justice, municipal services, etc.
We demand that government should dismiss the current CEO and the entire board and dismantle the task team it has put above the board. Their appointment has made no difference whatsoever. We demand that a new CEO with necessary experience, skills and expertise supported by a new board in which labour and civil society will be represented be put in place. This new leadership should be tasked with getting Eskom out of the current quagmire. We remain opposed to the unbundling of Eskom and reject moves to hollow it out through the introduction of IPPS that are subsidised by ESKOM at its own expense.
SAFTU together with all working class formations are embarking on a total shutdown of the economy to amongst others pursue these demands.
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