The poor will bear the brunt of Eskom’s tariff hike

Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Published Apr 2, 2024


The majority of South Africans are worried as power utility Eskom is set to implement its increased tariffs this week, as approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) last year.

Amos Ndaba, 72, from Kagiso, said life was getting more expensive in the country every day as everything seemed to be increasing yet companies were shedding jobs.

Ndaba said as a pensioner, he was already spending more on electricity, and how much more was he going to spend now that the cost has been pushed up again.

“We might as well go back to the old days where we were using candles and paraffin to cook and do all sorts of things. Lately, one must choose whether they buy food or electricity and, unfortunately, we can’t live without any of them.

“I think the government must start subsidising pensioners and households where people don’t work, because we honestly can’t survive with the current tariffs,” Ndaba said.

Nkele Mgujulwa, from Ivory Park in Thembisa, echoed Ndaba’s sentiments, saying that people were now working for transport, food and electricity.

Mgujulwa said she was an unemployed mother of three and that she relied on rental for an income as she has rooms at her house.

“One hundred (rand for) electricity is too small as it is, how much more is it going to be now that they have increased the units? These are the reasons why some of the community members resort to izinyoka (illegal connections) as opposed to buying electricity, because this is now too much.

“Our children don’t work, people lose jobs and these people are busy eating Eskom money. Now we must suffer for their corruption, we must vote these people out,” a frustrated Mgujulwa added.

Activists and Citizens Forum spokesperson Dennis Bloem said the government was expecting South Africans to fork out 12,74% more for electricity, even though they have been sitting with devastating load shedding for years.

“This electricity increase together with the increase of fuel prices will have devastating effects on the already crippled economy. More businesses are going to close their doors. Everyone is going to feel the impact of this insensitive increase.

“The cost of living will definitely affect the poor the hardest – food prices will be unaffordable, unemployment will rise, people will lose their jobs, more people will go to bed on empty stomachs.

“The ANC government has totally failed to fulfil the promise of 1994 for a better life for all. In fact, life is getting worse under this corrupt government,” added Bloem.

He said South Africans would have an opportunity to free themselves from leaders who did not have their best interest at heart in the coming month.

“The people will have an opportunity in a few weeks’ time to release themselves from these leaders who don’t care about the well-being of the people who have voted them into government.

“Activists and Citizens Forum are calling upon all eligible voters to go out in their millions on 29 May 2024 and vote out these vultures are who masquerading as leaders.”

The price of electricity will increase this week, following Eskom’s implementation of its new electricity tariff of between 12.72% and 12.74%.

The power utility said the average increase would apply to key industrial and urban tariffs which would be 13.29% due to the increase in the affordability subsidy charge.

“The affordability subsidy charge is raised as a subsidy to the home light 20A tariff and is determined by Nersa,” said the power utility.

This charge exists due to historically lower home light 20A tariff increases and is paid by the non-municipal large industrial and urban tariffs.

“There are no tariff structural changes for 2024/25; however, Eskom is considering a tariff restructuring submission to Nersa for implementation in 2025/26,” said Eskom.

The Star

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