JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) has called on NERSA to reject Eskom’s request for a 19.9% tariff increase.

NUMSA has since made submissions to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa today, which is currently holding public consultations, on Eskom’s request to increase its prices in the 2018/19 financial year.

"We view this demand by Eskom as nothing more than a gross abuse of power, and an attempt by the State Owned Entity (SOE) to hold the entire country and the economy hostage. To make matters worse Eskom is poorly led and its senior management team is drowning in scandals," NUMSA said.

The union made mention of a 2011 Deloitte investigation which looked into the emergency procurement of coal contracts details numerous irregularities and confirmed that the blackout emergency, which cost South Africa an estimated R300-billion, was seemingly engineered to the benifit certain companies." This is an example of the violence of the capitalist system on the working class which our society has unfortunately come to accept as normal."

NUMSA accused Eskom of having the "audacity" of making a "thumb suck demand" in its 19.9% tariff increase. "They have no regard for the catastrophic implications of this and for the national crisis of plant closures which will be triggered if this outrageous demand is met," Numsa said.

The union further accused Eskom's board and management of being completely oblivious to the suffering of the working class majority. "StatsSA has confirmed that more than half the population lives in abject poverty; more than 36% of the working population is unemployed and the gap between the rich and poor is ever widening. To make matters worse the economy is in junk status and growth prospects are very low."

"We demand free electricity for the working class and the poor, and affordably priced electricity for industry. We reject Eskom’s request for a 19.9% tariff increase, NUMSA said.
The union further called on Eskom to change its mandate from profit seeking to ensuring that South Africa is adequately electrified both for domestic and industrial life