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‘Our residents simply cannot afford these increases’ – Stellenbosch mayor Gesie van Deventer on Eskom’s proposed price hike

Stellenbosch mayor Gesie van Deventer said the municipality rejected Eskom’s proposed increase. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Stellenbosch mayor Gesie van Deventer said the municipality rejected Eskom’s proposed increase. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jan 17, 2022

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CAPE TOWN – Stellenbosch Municipality has rejected Eskom’s proposed 20.5% electricity price increase.

Executive Mayor Gesie van Deventer said she submitted a letter to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) on Friday, January 14, following Eskom’s application for a 20.5% electricity price increase.

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“I formally lodged our rejection of the application from Eskom and requested that this application be withdrawn.

“Eskom’s proposed increases of 20.5%, 15.07% and 10% for the next three years are going to have a detrimental impact on the economy given that electricity underpins a number of key sectors.

“Our residents simply cannot afford these increases. They are unjustified and unfair. Like the majority of South Africans, many residents and businesses are struggling to make ends meet,” van Deventer said.

She said the pandemic and national lockdown had led to the closure of many businesses and the loss of thousands of jobs and residents were already bearing the brunt of rising costs of fuel, food and basic consumer goods.

Van Deventer said one also had to take into consideration the financial loss on municipal funds as a result of the pandemic.

She said it was an extreme injustice that ordinary South Africans would be forced to bear the cost of Eskom’s inability to fix the mess it had created.

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“While constantly being expected to pay more for electricity, South Africans seem to be getting less of it.

“An increase in line with the consumer price index (CPI) of 5.5% would have been a more reasonable tariff increase for Eskom.

“The time is indeed now for Eskom to take drastic steps to reduce its debt and improve its financial sustainability, but passing the buck to struggling consumers should not be the default solution,” Van Deventer added.

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