The Democratic Alliance (DA) has come to Megawatt Park today to take a stand against the continued mismanagement and inefficiency of Eskom, which has cost our economy billions in lost revenue and caused untold job losses through years of load-shedding.
Since load-shedding began in 2008, Eskom executives have received over R73 million in bonuses. This is an insult to hard-working South Africans who continue to struggle without a stable supply of electricity.
Today we are here to present a petition, supported by over 76,000 South Africans, to Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, demanding that Eskom executives repay these bonuses and that no further bonuses are paid until the crisis is over and load-shedding is no longer a threat.
The truth is that the current break in load-shedding is not the result of an improvement to Eskom’s ability to supply sufficient power – it rather reflects a drop in demand. When winter returns, so will the strain on our grid and this will mean load-shedding.
Furthermore, the DA will not tolerate the payment of bonuses to non-performing executives while Eskom is seeking to place the burden of its inefficiency on consumers.
Eskom is currently seeking a 16% electricity tariff increase from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) – a request the DA will be arguing against at the public hearings early next month. Combined with the upward pressure on food prices brought on by the drought, an increase in electricity tariffs will hit the poor hard.
The driving force behind the request for tariff increases is the delay in completing Medupi and Kusile that is forcing Eskom to make use of expensive diesel-fuelled turbines to minimise load-shedding. This is a failure of Eskom management, and yet its executives are being rewarded with bonuses.
Energy is the life blood of our economy. Without a stable supply, businesses will not be able to grow, investors will not invest, and ultimately joblessness will increase.
As the South African economy faces shocks on various fronts, including a devastating drought the effects of which remain to be seen, we cannot afford for deficiencies in critical infrastructure to be a further hurdle to growth and prosperity.
The time has come to break the Eskom monopoly, reform the energy sector and open it up to increased competition. The Petition was however labelled as unlawful by Eskom management and has launched an investigation into how the petition group gained access into its premises.