City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said the tariff increases granted to Eskom over the next three years by Nersa, were rewarding corruption. File picture: African News Agency (ANA).

Durban - City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Thursday that the tariff increases granted to Eskom over the next three years by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), were rewarding corruption. 

"While the city is appreciative of Nersa’s willingness to hear the voice of our residents, businesses and all South Africans at large, it is still our view that the present increase serves only to reward maladministration and corruption, which has gutted Eskom," said Mashaba via an emailed statement. 

Nersa had earlier in the day granted Eskom hikes of 9.41%, 8.1% and 5.2% for the next three financial years. The embattled state power utility - which is  R420 billion in debt - had applied for increases of 17.1 % for 2019/20, 15.4% for 2020/21 and 15.5% for 2021/22.

Mashaba said the city, like others across the country, had made representations to Nersa regarding the proposed increases, stressing the concerns held by residents and businesses in respect of the then proposed tariff increase. 

"Around 45.2% of our residents exist, barely surviving, below the poverty line. Just over 900 000 of our residents are unemployed and the national economic growth outlook remains depressed," said Mashaba. 

Life was set to become "that much harder as a result of the increase", he said. "In addition, the rise in tariffs will also continue to place struggling businesses under strain, hampering the prospects for economic growth."

"Ultimately, we hope that Nersa will do all within its powers to ensure that serious reforms are implemented at Eskom; reforms which will cut costs and end corruption once and for all at Eskom. This includes applying consequence management for those who have been responsible for the mass mismanagement [and] looting at the organisation," he said. 

African News Agency (ANA)