Cosatu strike threat over Eskom tariffs - statement by the UDM President (15 March 2010)

The UDM notes with interest COSATU's threat to embark on strike action regarding the tariff increases granted to Eskom, including striking during the World Cup.

It remains to be seen whether this is grandstanding or a serious intention on the part of the trade federation.

The UDM believes there is indeed merit in the effort to engage Government about the Eskom tariffs. The tariffs will hit all South Africans very hard, but it is especially the poor who will see their meagre household budgets straining under this additional expense. The economy as a whole will suffer from unnecessary inflation. These tariffs constitute a secondary tax. To make things worse, we are told that that a World Bank loan is now being sought, which would be another debt albatross around our necks. What is most distasteful about the affair is that it will directly put a vast some of money in the ANC's coffers, through its shareholding in an Eskom deal. Essentially Eskom is taking from the poor to fund the ruling party. This is immoral and unacceptable.

The UDM believes that Cosatu should indeed engage Government, but that it must broaden the scope of this engagement by allowing representatives from all sectors of civil society to participate in this meeting with Government.

It is necessary for Government to listen to the people and to take note of the widespread unhappiness regarding the electricity tariffs. The talks must result in the ANC completely withdrawing its stake in the Eskom deal without deriving any benefit from it whatsoever.