The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has cautiously welcomed dismissal by the national energy regulator (Nersa) of the 60% proposed power tariff increases by Eskom.
Energy regulator’s decision to approve 13, 3 % in addition to 14, 2% rate increases granted last December for the coming year, shows a total disregard for the looming economic depression.
Numsa is extremely apprehensive of the total 27% power hikes in the coming year for being at a particularly volatile moment when month- on- month inflation (CPIX) is expected to increase beyond 15% in December, 2008.
These increases are expected on the back of a weaker currency and higher oil prices, which will completely erode any improvements expected to be made in the steel, metal and engineering industry negotiations for above inflation-level increases.
Although Nersa’s decision is anticipated to ease the severe impact on impoverished communities and the economy, Numsa believes the tariff hikes will still hit harder as people in general found it hard to survive food prices, petrol; bond rate increases which were no longer affordable.
Even if the proposed power increases could be smoothed over a period of five to ten years, Government should take responsibility for the power supply infrastructural development, instead of shifting that important national task to the tax payers who are already up to their necks in taking government responsibilities.
Numsa, however, commend the significant role played by business, labour, community and government in finding workable solution through social engagement to the power challenges which faced the country.
For further information contact:
Mziwakhe Hlangani, Numsa national spokesperson
Cell phone: 082 9407116