Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba. FILE PHOTO

JOHANNESBURG  - Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said he was meeting the business community on Thursday to discuss the likely impact of a proposed 15 percent annual tariff increase by state power utility Eskom over the next three years.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said it would on Friday stage a picket together with community organizations in the Soweto township to oppose Eskom's request, made to the National Energy Regulator (Nersa).

Mayor Mashaba said the city of Johannesburg wanted to incorporate the views of business people as part of its representations to Nersa rejecting the hikes.

He said said years of mismanagement and corruption at the state enterprise had helped slow economic growth and increased the hardships faced by residents.

In October, Eskom announced it had asked Nersa for a 15 percent tariff hike per year for the next three financial years in a bid to attain revenue of R219 billion in 2019/20, R252 billion in 2020/21 and R291 billion in 2021/22.

Eskom is about R420 billion in the red. 

Nersa will kick off the last leg of public hearings on Eskom's application in Gauteng province, which incorporates Johannesburg, on Friday.

In a separate statement, union Numsa said it would make its own detailed submissions to the Nersa board at the hearings as to why Eskom should be denied the increase.

"Granting Eskom a tariff hike would be disastrous for the economy and for the community at large," Numsa said.

- African News Agency (ANA)