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Young communists question BHP deal

Oct 24 2012 08:01 Sapa

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BHP BILLITON PLC [JSE:BIL]

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Johannesburg - Eskom's attempt to overturn a controversial electricity deal with BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] should be supported, the Young Communist League of SA said on Tuesday.

In terms of the deal, agreed to in the 1990s, BHP Billiton reportedly pays only a fraction of the electricity price charged to other consumers who use less energy.

"The deal has been nothing but highly exploitative on the people of South Africa, with BHP Billiton being the beneficiary whilst the working class has been subsidising its profit maximisation," the YCLSA said.

It said the working class had been subjected to load-shedding, while BHP Billiton, a multinational, paid rates lower even than those offered to the unemployed.

This was a shame, as the poor faced regular cut-offs.

"We call on the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to ensure that BHP Billiton pays the normal rate as all other Eskom clients, and end this anomaly that has been a heavy yoke on the people of South Africa," said the YCLSA.

"If BHP does not agree to the normalisation of the deal, in line with principles of equality, we categorically state that termination of the deal is the only viable solution."

The YCLSA called on Eskom to ensure that its request for a 16 percent tariff increase was not imposed on the people.

"Business must shoulder the increasing costs of electricity production and ensure that it is socially responsible in that regard."

eskom  |  bhp billiton
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