File picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN – The Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday that it was concerned by Eskom managers' demands for a salary hike and the reported warning of a strike and loadshedding.

The party has called on all the parties involved to resolve their salary disputes in a responsible manner by not plunging the economy and the utility into even further distress.

Over the weekend, reports emerged that a group of senior managers at Eskom is taking the power utility to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after not receiving salary increases and incentive bonuses last year. 

There are between 180 and 200 managers in the group and they earn between R1.5 million and R3 million a year. They are demanding a 4.7 percent salary increase. 

Eskom last week reported a loss of R20.7 billion for the year ending March. The power utility is facing a possibility of industrial action if it does not agree to the pay hike, and that could result in loadshedding, sheduled blackouts to relieve the pressure on the network. 

Natasha Mazzone, DA spokesperson on public enterprises, said this salary hike could cost Eskom up to R300 million should it be granted.

"Senior management should be an example when it comes to austerity measures by reviewing salaries instead of holding the country and the economy to ransom because they have not been given a salary increase," Mazzone said. 

"Eskom's financial trajectory is not sustainable. South Africa cannot afford a recurrence of load-shedding, as we stare down the slow collapse of the entity. This will have irreparable consequences for our already ailing economy and ordinary citizens."

Mazzone said Eskom should find alternative plans in order to reduce the cost of electricity and bring about much-needed competition.

- African News Agency (ANA)