Johannesburg - The DA is taking the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to court following its authorisation of a 31,4% electricity tariff increase for Eskom.
The court application came five months after Nersa announced the tariff increase, which was spread over two financial years.
Kevin Mileham, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, said the consequences of this disastrous decision had started to appear across the country as ratepayers took to the streets to protest the increasingly unaffordable electricity bills.
Protest action in Swellendam municipality on Wednesday was the clearest indication yet that consumers were struggling and simply could not afford the above inflation tariff increase implemented by Nersa.
Mileham said the DA was the only party which had been fighting Nersa’s Eskom tariff increase from the start, working together with South Africans across the country who were bearing the brunt of a rising cost of living.
“We are now taking that fight to court to ask for urgent relief for ratepayers. In line with our commitment to push back against this exploitative tariff, the DA will ask the North Gauteng High Court on the 11th of September to review and set aside Nersa’s electricity tariff increase.
“We will not accept a situation where consumers are forced to pay more for electricity to subsidise corruption and inefficiency at Eskom. Nersa’s tariff increase is actually a corruption tax that victims of corruption must pay to enable the syndicates to continue their looting of Eskom, as they have done for years.
“With South Africans enduring load shedding almost on a daily basis, Nersa’s unaffordable tariff increase for Eskom is abusive and should be rejected outright. It is unfathomable that the ANC government, through Nersa, expects South Africans to pay double-digit tariff increases for electricity that they do not receive.”
‘’Instead of taking responsibility for their ill-advised decision, the ANC government, Nersa and Eskom are standing on the sidelines while municipalities face the full wrath of residents who are clearly struggling to keep their lights on,” Mileham said.
He said this time around, the DA would hold those responsible - national government and its entities - accountable, and this was precisely “why we are going to court to assert the power of ratepayers.”
Mileham said the Eskom monopoly, with all its inefficiencies and corruption, had become an albatross on consumers and the economy, saying instead of opening up the market to the private sector and helping lower prices, the ANC government was dragging its feet on key reforms.
“As recently as yesterday, the country was made aware that the Minister of Energy, Gwede Mantashe, may deliberately be sabotaging the tabling of the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill, a key piece of legislation that can unlock private sector investment in the electricity sector.
“On 11 September, we ask that South Africans join us in our court fight to have Nersa’s tariff decision reviewed and set aside. The time has come for South Africans to take their power back,” Mileham said.