Solidarity: Jo’burg marchers protest against power tariff hike

23 04 2008

23 April 2008 04:50
Source: Mail & Guardian

About 400 marchers under the banner of the Anti-Privatisation Forum handed over a memorandum to City Power and Eskom in Johannesburg on Wednesday in protest against a proposed 53% hike in electricity tariffs.

The protesters called for the immediate resignation of Eskom managers and demanded a halt to proposed bonuses to management.

Forum spokesperson Silumko Radebe condemned the proposed increase. “The proposed tariff hike will negatively affect the living standards of poor households and will be at odds with efforts to reduce poverty,” he said.

City Power manager Vicky Shuping, who received the memorandum on behalf of her organisation, said she would give it to the mayor and discuss the demands with him.

The protesters sang derogatory songs about Johannesburg mayor Amos Masondo, saying he did not have the courage to face the protesters and address their issues.

An elderly protester, Sarafina Motsopa, said the residents of Soweto were let down by Masondo as he had not come out in support of the poor.

Earlier, the protesters marched to the Department of Minerals and Energy, Eskom and City Power to hand over their memorandums.

They demanded that the public hearings on the electricity increases be made accessible for the poor to attend in their own communities, as opposed to the offices of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa in Pretoria.

Radebe said 30% of South Africans cannot afford electricity and the rise in prices will force people to use alternative energy sources such as paraffin, coal and biomass.

“These will have enormous financial and social consequences. The total cost to the economy of paraffin-related accidents is R100-billion a year. Our children are scarred for life because Eskom refuses to supply electricity to the poor,” he said.

Radebe said the 50kWh free electricity allocation to the poor should be raised to 100kWh per person monthly. Other demands are for the scrapping of subsidised electricity for foreign corporations under the development electricity pricing programme.

The protesters also called for the abolishment of pre-paid electricity meters in poor communities.

Radebe said Eskom, City Power, the Minerals and Energy Department and the municipality have seven working days to answer to the forum’s demands before further action will be taken. — Sapa

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5 responses

24 04 2008
Sean

Increased price tariff increase in utilities will hurt the poor and something needs to be done in this regard. However, I fail to see how abolishing prepaid electricity meters is going to help in any way.

Prepaid electricity meters are a valuable credit management tool for the poor and a protection by landlords and municipalities against bad debt.

Some may say I am biased because I sell prepaid electricity meters, but time and again I see the use of prepaid electricity meters actually benefiting all concerned.

Many of the poor are renting. Prepaid electricity meters ensure that they are not being ripped off by bad landlords. The meters give them control of the electricity they use and ability to accurately monitor and manage their electricity consumption.

People using Prepaid Electricity Meters cannot go into debt and are therefore not losing on interest rate charged or creating bad credit records.

24 04 2008
jsacks

This post probably should not have been approved since it is clearly an advertisement for prepaid electricity meters.

Regardless, Sean here obviously does not understand poor communities very well. The poor communities that make up the AEC and other social movements of the poor know what is best for them and know exactly why they do not support the forced installment of prepaid electricity meters.

The AEC always says: “We may be poor, but we are not stupid”. Go talk to them and they will happily give you a lesson on what it means to be oppressed.

24 04 2008
Sean

jsacks,

Actually there is no issue of oppression here. We often get calls from tenants in poor areas who are asking us about how they can get a prepaid meter installed. The reason is that they feel they cannot trust the bills coming from their landlords. They feel that installation of a prepaid meter will help control the problem and provide greater transparency.

At the same time, municipalities are sitting with huge debts on utilities. Who has to pay for them. The owners of property do. As a nation we cannot sit around saying we must get everything free, but that is what municipalities are being asked to do time and gain. The City of Johannesburg had to write off over a Billion Rands recently.

I agree that tariff prices need to be adjusted in consideration of economic groups capacity to pay for services, but constantly accepting to write off bad debts also does not build an environment or culture where our municipal services are able to operate effectively.

I am interested to see how you see my post above as an advert. I see it as being transparent about who am am and where I come from. This in order that parties from all ranges of the spectrum can discuss in an open and transparent manner.

However, all to often in South Africa we see one side not allowing the other to have a voice.

The way I see it is that I am here and willing to enter into constructive discussion. I like to add my part in the discussion the same way I do in other areas where I have an informed view and can bring some value and perspective to the table.

Not disclosing who I am or what my interest is, is not transparent in my view.

Just because a person hold a different view to you, does not mean that they are clueless or uninformed.

1 05 2008
jsacks

No one is against prepaid water meters – just against it being FORCED on them. Even the courts agree: http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.aspx?area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/&articleid=338148&referrer=RSS

13 05 2008
michelle

hi there i want to find out we are unhappy with our landlord wat can we do?
there are no firehosses,there are gasbottels that are not save,the washing lines are terible,the place are dirty,there are no rubbish bins or postboxes.
how many months notice do you have to give to move out? please help us
thank you
michelle




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