Public hearings on Eskom’s application for unjust massive electricity tariff hikes are underway. This consultation must take into account genuine concerns voiced by the public against the unjust proposed hikes. Many such hearings in the past ignored the views of the public and decisions were simply forced down our throats.
It seems the outcome of these hearings has been predetermined and will go against public interest. Meanwhile government is playing neutrality. It is pretending as if Eskom and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) are independent of government when they are agencies executing government mandate.
Government must be giving leadership and direction on the matter. In times like this, all it takes is an instruction from Cabinet to the respective boards of these organizations to stop these exploitative tariff hikes. Whenever a government agency is treading on public interest, government must intervene and protect the interest of the people.
In this case we know for a fact that government is encouraging the tariff hikes in the darkness of the night. That is why the ANC asked Eskom to delay the announcement of the tariff hikes until the general elections last April. This can only mean one thing. That is the tariff hikes has the full support of the ruling ANC. If they did not support it they have enough muscles to say so and to instruct against the tariff hikes.
It is also clear that the ANC was aware before the public announcement of the hikes that the majority of voters would not support these unjust hikes as they have demonstrated during the ongoing public hearings.
The real problem with these public hearings, as with all government public hearings, is that they are being reduced to talk-shops and nothing that comes of it will be given serious attention, if any, by NERSA. Instead the hearings are conducted to merely comply with the procedure while resources are being wasted and the decision has been made already.
We cannot allow consumers to be punished for something they are not responsible for while the blood-stained culprits in government and the electricity enterprise go scot free. It’s either Eskom raises the capital required for capital expansion itself or government provide more guarantees or obtain loans to support Eskom’s capital expansion without passing the costs to innocent consumers or taxpayers in general.