23 June 2005
TO: Ms L Msengana-Ndlela – Director General: Provincial and Local Government
Adv S Nogxina – Director General: Minerals and Energy
FROM: Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP – UDM President
Dear Madam and Sir
RE: EXORBITANT ELECTRICITY INSTALLATION COSTS – NGWANALLELA, LIMPOPO
During the course of my Constituency responsibilities as a Member of Parliament I visited the Ngwanallela Village in Limpopo a week ago.
The people of the village informed me that surrounding communities have paid between R100 and R150 per household for electricity installations, whereas in their village the cost has been in the region of R1500 per household. Naturally, you will agree with me that such a high cost seems grossly unfair, especially if one considers the levels of poverty in this community. Quite inevitably the cost difference – 1000% - in comparison to surrounding communities is causing a great deal of resentment.
I am further informed that the installations have been conducted by ESKOM, but that now the municipality is taking over the responsibility. The village is concerned that they were not consulted regarding this, and further strongly suspect that the municipality will demand much higher rates than ESKOM.
I have been assured that the vast majority of the village would prefer to deal with ESKOM, rather than the municipality.
I have been informed of other instances across the country where similar complaints and concerns have arisen. It seems to me that many municipalities are guilty of massively over-charging for electricity services in order to balance their books. This is an injustice given that South Africa prides itself on providing some of the cheapest electricity in the world.
Large companies and industries are benefiting from cheap electricity; a fact that we celebrate for the positive effects on our economy. But simultaneously a situation has developed where ordinary citizens, often in very poor and under-developed areas, are paying vastly escalated costs. Surely, the economic benefits of cheap electricity can be extended to include social benefits for ordinary citizens too.
I’m certain that both of your Departments are committed to equality in development. Inequality in electricity services and costs directly cause inequality in economic and social development.
I would appreciate it if you were to investigate and address the concerns of the people of Mgwanallela urgently. In the larger context, I would also urge you to give consideration to the general disparity between the rates charged by ESKOM and Local Government, as well as among different municipalities. If you have already developed any strategies in this regard I would highly appreciate to be furnished with details of such.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP
CC: Community of Mgwanallela Village
Mr I Kekana, UDM MPL – Limpopo Legislature