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CAPE TOWN - Public attendants to the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa public hearing yesterday in Midrand said, Eskom's proposed 19.9% price hike might fuel electricity theft and non-payment by consumers, especially the poor communities.  

Nersa has been conducting public hearings on Eskom’s revenue application for the 2018/19 financial year.

Eskom believes that a tariff increase is vital to maintain their financial sustainability.

According to Cape Times, the Alexandra councillor, Matshidiso Mfikoe told Nersa that an excessive increase does not encourage payment by consumers. "it continues electricity theft". 

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Speaking at the final public hearing in Gauteng, Eskom Interim Group Chief Executive Sean Maritz said, "We continue with our intense debt collection strategy to recover unpaid debt from all customers, including Soweto and defaulting municipalities.

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"We are instituting disciplinary charges and taking legal action if required. To date, we have suspended eight members of leadership who have allegedly been involved in governance irregularities. Four of whom are from my executive team. We have also instituted criminal charges against certain Eskom management in this regard," Maritz added.

ALSO READ: Another Eskom senior executive suspended

Eskom has recently been reported being in a dire financial situation, which could lead to a struggle of employee payments in the near future. 

Eskom's spokesperson, Khulu Phasiwe revealed that the utility intends to draw down on the current loan facilities they had, including a R350 billion guarantee from government, and selling more electricity to neighbouring countries in order to plug the revenue gap.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE