Electricity - All will suffer and the have-nots will have even less - statement by Member of UDEMWO NEC (25 February 2010)

We are still reeling from yesterday’s announcement that electricity will in future cost an arm and a leg. How can an increase of a commodity of over 25% be justified, when salaries increase by only 7%? And, those South Africans who survive on grants must, in essence, just give the money back to Government if they are to have electricity.

Government boasted about the number of households electrified over the past 15 years. When this increase was mooted, did the ANC Government think about these very households? How on this earth are they are going to afford the exorbitant tariff increase?

Take a village on the outskirts of the Eastern Cape or the North West Provinces where households will be forced to again turn to non-renewable resources by collecting wood for fire to heat water, generate warmth and to cook their meals. The adverse impact on the already cash-strapped organisations that support our society such as schools, orphanages, hospitals, NGOs etc. will be crippling. At the moment, municipalities fail their service delivery mandate and now they will have an additional burden to take into consideration when doing their budgets. Government won’t be able to afford its own increase!

Why if there are so many negatives has this decision been taken? The ANC seems content to have the poor subsidise their personal wealth; to have tax-payers fund the purchase of R250 000 watches and luxury Range Rovers as well paying as the ridiculous salaries and performance bonuses of Eskom bosses. As the UDM President said, the ANC is the only group that stands to gain from these tariff increases.