35 000 jobs on line over Eskom hikes

2013-01-17 18:21

Durban - As many as 35 000 people in the sugar cane industry could lose their jobs if Eskom is granted a 16% electricity increase, the SA Cane Growers' Association said on Thursday.

The increase could result in the closure of four mills, the association's financial affairs director Thomas Funke said at a public hearing held by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) in Durban.

He said the sugar cane industry made R10bn a year and employed 350 000 people.

There would be a 19.4% loss of income in the industry if the increase was granted. It would also have a dramatic effect on food security.

"We believe the increase is not appropriate and not affordable. A double digit increase will have serious impact on net returns."

Funke said an increase higher than inflation was not possible for the association to digest.

National Union of Metalworkers of SA president Cedric Gcina warned that an electricity increase would negatively affect industries and the poor.

In his submission, he highlighted the impact the increase would have on the smelting industry.

Gcina said that in a snap survey in November, 10 energy intensive companies indicated to Numsa that electricity accounted for 37.04% of their operating costs.

The survey revealed that with the proposed electricity price increase, operating costs would increase by on average 6.83% a year, and that as a result, two-thirds of the smelting companies may have to close down. Gcina said one company indicated it would retrench workers.

Congress of SA Trade Unions KwaZulu-Natal secretary Zet Luzipho said Eskom wanted to operate like a private company whose main objective was to make a profit.

"Eskom must operate according to developmental objectives of the country and not like a profit-thirsty monster it has become."

He said the proposed increase would result in hikes of 110%, which would cause high unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Most families in the country were responsible for supporting three to eight members, and most of these families lived below the bread-line on R10 a day, he said.

Luzipho said it could not be correct that people had to brace themselves for poverty every time Eskom wanted to expand.

More than 100 people picketed at the International Convention Centre where the hearing was held.

A group from the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance and members of Numsa sang struggle songs, demanding to be allowed in.

Protesters carried placards reading: "stop Eskom price increase", "poor to pay for Eskom bad planning", and "why is government silent?".

Pensioner Joseph Harker, from Wentworth, said he paid R800 a month for electricity and that the R40 annual increase to his pension would not cover the proposed hike.

  • prot.kpax.33 - 2013-01-17 18:43

    This country is truly doomed, can't see things changing for the better under the anc.

      ianon.ym - 2013-01-17 18:55

      The problem is that the country is so far down the tube that even with a change in government it will take decades to play catch-up - Truly doomed is putting it eloquently ...

  • Erna - 2013-01-17 18:44

    You'd better be careful. Susan Shabangu will say you're arrogant.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-17 19:41

      Eskom is a public enterprise so if they cause 35 000 job losses, that's 'regrettable'. When the private sector causes 14 000 job losses that's 'arrogant'

      henk63 - 2013-01-17 20:08

      @lacrimosewolf, correction. The private sector didn't cause those job losses. It was the workers themselves, backed by the morons in the unions and the ANC. But I get your drift.

  • bennie.kruger.5 - 2013-01-17 18:46

    Nkandla needs a new Nursery wing !!

      walter.corbett.54 - 2013-01-17 18:50

      You are so right Bennie - have you seen what it looks like now?

  • hilton.preston - 2013-01-17 18:46

    very simple...STOP paying yourselves these massive bonuses and fund these developments yourself!

  • etienne.vanrooyen - 2013-01-17 18:55

    Use Zimbabwe as a template, not so quickly though but most definitely...

      kortbroek.duplessis - 2013-01-18 08:39

      We have more to loose, so it will take a little longer to reach rock bottom

  • athalia.maabane - 2013-01-17 19:03

    So sad that day in day out we read about the threat of job loss in various industries. Would it not have been nice if we read the opposite? South Africa we live in today!!!!

      christelle.theron.3 - 2013-01-17 19:15

      Athalia, you know when this will come true, don't you.....2014 is coming, make it happen!!

  • david.wallace.5099940 - 2013-01-17 19:05

    We can't blame Eskom for this as a whole. Eskom is a govenrment subsidary. It is govenrment that isn't letting another power supplier in south africa because govenment doesn't want to lose the monopoly. Very much like the reason they have fixed costing on fuel. If petrol cost varied from different brands, petrol companies would have a price war and sasol would lose out. Govenrment would get less on fuel tax and less for the coffers.

  • MJS1234 - 2013-01-17 19:07

    And that's just one industry... How many more jobs would go too! Shame on you Eskom!

      bobby.rosewood.1 - 2013-01-17 20:23

      Foundries are closing rapidly all over the country, as they cannot compete (due to CURRENT energy/labour costs) with far east productions. This is happening NOW. Who will need electricity in 5-10 years time? Not the industry, as they will be gone, and not the unemployed people that stay behind after they are gone, as they cannot afford the electricity, obviously. Let's put this whole circus on hold- time will show that we will not need more electricity in 5 years' time, rather less.

  • Glen.E.Huysamer - 2013-01-17 19:12

    Eskom CEO"S and top management are scamming the Nation once again, and the ANC government is so out of control over everything they do not even have the slightest clue as to what is actually going on with regards ESKOM's capabilities, they have no idea, if ESKOM said they had '2hydroglips' of energy, the ANC government would all nod their heads, hold their chins and say..... reaaalllyyy!.........seeerioouussss,!!!!!! so how much money do you want bro' ? just make sure the TV stay's on for the AFCON.

  • wwrer.ww - 2013-01-17 19:12

    You see: people have been saying: The ANC doesn't know how to run the country. Let the private sector, the business people run businesses. Government should stay out of business. Let the free market run businesses. The toll gates, to Eskom, SAA ... it is better to run things the way they do in Singapore, Hong Kong, Chile, South Korea. etc. Open the economy up. Lower business taxes, high economic growth, lots of jobs. SA's unemployment is amongst the highest in the world, it should be one of the best countries to work in. The ANC doesn't have the skills to run businesses, to compete in business, against other businesses elsewhere in the world. Give the country a chance to develop. The ANC should stop stifling entrepreneurship, especially black entrepreneurship, because it wants them dependent upon government and to just get their votes. We should become a global exporter like Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, China of high tech products. We are stuck in a socialist, "government will provide mindset", instead of an entrepreneurship, Samsung, LG, Hyundai, Huawei mindset.

  • bobby.rosewood.1 - 2013-01-17 19:18

    So if I understand it correctly: Eskom needs to build power stations for a 'growing future demand'; but because of the tarif hikes that go with the building of this fantastic, improved grid, this 'growing demand' will never happen, as industry will not be able to grow due to the high prices of electricity?? We will have this great OVER CAPACITY in 10 years time. Ironic, hey!

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-17 19:31

      Please don't try using logic or rational thinking. These are alien tendencies and will not be tolerated. Viva! Power to the people!

      wwrer.ww - 2013-01-17 19:32

      It will be the most expensive electricity in the world, according to reports, more expensive than the electricity of Washington DC, which has the most expensive electricity in the world, because it was built all at once, when commodity prices are at record highs ... think what is needed in a coal or nuclear power plant: concrete, steel, coal, uranium, oil, beryllium etc. to create steam turbines, electrical generators, cooling towers, condensers, the nuclear reactor core, control rods, electronics etc. The ANC didn't build power stations for 15 years, they forbid Eskom to do so, at the insistence of the unions like COSATU who demanded that all the money on electricity be spent to connect the poor and now everything has to be built all at once.

  • mantsho.tlali - 2013-01-17 19:22

    ANC dont know how to run the country, however l dont blame them, but l blame the people who keep voting for ANC in power,the day they learn than they dont have a future with this people it will be day they wake up. l fell sorry for those who dont vote for ANC, but to those who vote for ANC and still suffer l say they deserve it!

  • nhlapop - 2013-01-17 19:27

    Eskom is the monster indeed, 35 000 jobs on the line? Ask if our President will interven. I doubt if he will because somewhere somehow he's benefiting from this lousy increase. Someone must stop Eskom from this proporsal before its too late. NERSA MUST NOT allow Eskom to do this, Government must bail them out. Inkandla was upgraded by our tax money, therefore Eskom must also be bail out. We can't afford this price increase. Hell no, and top Executives of Eskom will be walking out with FAT salaries. Voetsek I'm tired of this morons.nxa.

  • yolanda.r.haripersad - 2013-01-17 19:31

    Let's vote ANC in 2014 for more jobs????

  • nkhase - 2013-01-17 19:42

    yoh!35 thousand,thats so huge considering that we are already having high unemployment rate,i think a compromise solution must be agreed upon

      lacrimose.wolf - 2013-01-17 20:05

      The compromise was made back in 2006 when govt refused to give Eskom funding to build the infrastructure. Which would have been built by now. Now we are expected to pay 2013 --> prices for work that should have started 7 years ago.

  • henk63 - 2013-01-17 20:05

    If only Eskom would put the money they get to proper use. But no, Eskom employs thousands of new people who has no job to do, they just draw the pay. On top of that, Eskom's management award thgemselves 6-figure bonuses each year - "performance bonuses" nogal. Eskom has become a sinking ship.

      Bob - 2013-01-18 01:07

      Eskom invested huge amounts of money into HR and performance incentives pre-94. Even with a ton of sanctions going on at the time they were still one of the best employers in the country with excellent job security, pay packages, perks and staff facilities. Not only that but they actually delivered uninterrupted power at a very affordable rate. How things have changed!

  • terence.wessels - 2013-01-17 21:07

    Does anyone remember we (SA) had the cheapest power in the world. Pre 94. Hmmm. Now what?

      marc.ross.965 - 2013-01-18 09:58

      So much for Power To The People. Amaaaandla.

  • danie.theron.925 - 2013-01-17 23:19

    Its going to hit the fan soon. Workers are demanding more pay in industry and agriculture plus both have to cope with rising electricity prices, the 35000 job losses in only the tip of the iceberg,unemployment will surely rise and food will get very expensive.Its hitting the fan soon and the ANC will blame apartheid not their own incompetence.

  • christiaan.vanvuuren.9 - 2013-01-17 23:30

    Are these.prices not fair? I thought the problem came in with local municipalities who hike prices...

  • eduard.marais.5 - 2013-01-17 23:32

    The ANC policies has cost this country probably a million jobs already (and have added a good 5 million on the grants system), it is no way of creating wealth and "economic freedom"

  • mouwane - 2013-01-17 23:43

    The road to Civil War begins..the domino effect has started

  • del.pearson.98 - 2013-01-18 04:27

    South africa needs competition like most other countries. Somehow numerous companies sustain a good level of service in many countries. One can pick and choose and even change providers at a drop of a hat. This needs to be looked into in south africa.

  • sally.lewitt - 2013-01-18 05:30

    Monopoly, Monopoly, Monopoly..!

      marc.ross.965 - 2013-01-18 10:03

      Except the people who should go straight to jail (JZ etc) dont. And they still collect R200.

  • shelly.britz - 2013-01-18 05:51

    When Iscor, which was built on taxpayer money, was sold for 7,2 billion did you get a tax credit? Like SAA and all government managed enterprises, mismanagement and failed long term planning is putting us into bankruptcy and anarchy!!

  • sisie.indola - 2013-01-18 07:11

    How about getting those millions of illegal connections to pay first before they hike the prices.

  • cecilia.vanderwesthuizen.5 - 2013-01-18 07:37

    Eskom just want more and more and they couldn't care less of people lose their jobs. They want bigger bonusses for doing nothing. Yeah party some more.... And people get poorer and more poverty awaits!

  • neil.ross.5473 - 2013-01-18 07:48

    So Amplats, privately owned, want (need to? have to?) close some shafts and 14 000 jobs are on the line and the anc is up in arms. Eskom, government owned, is going to be the cause of some 35 000 (and many more to come) job losses and government is not only quiet, but actually supporting the tariff increase. Hypocrisy beyond belief.

  • johleneh - 2013-01-18 08:02

    where is the government outcry? The insults of Eskom's arrogance? The Union demands? O yes, sorry I forgot it's a public entity.. they're allowed to run a business into the ground and demand the tax payer pay for it, yet AGAIN.

  • nick.crossley.395 - 2013-01-18 09:37

    I am in the alternate energy business and you can feed power back into the grid in SA.

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2013-01-18 15:40

    Since the ANC took over just look how prices have rocketed. Eskom has had huge increases every year and when we make a noise they give us load shedding. They are crippling the economy and the people. There is not one enterprise that is government owned and run that can actually run smoothly without a begging bowl. The problem with eskom, they have to many big chiefs earning big money and doing diddly squat. Cut the fat, then maybe they will run according to their budget. I wonder if they have teachers running their financial depts. One thing in the NATS favour, they new that business had to make money for the country and government to prosper, they also knew not to continually fleece the people, they were more careful with the money, one or two big chiefs the rest ordinary workers. Parties were not the order of the day and board meetiings did not entail wine and dine events. The NATS would never have allowed the strikers to hold businesses or farmers to ransome, they would have stepped in and sorted something one smartly, give them their due, they did'nt have expensive fleets of german cars for everybody and their aunty, and whats more they realized that government can only do so much and so they looked after the business people. Thats how south africa grew. Their ideas about apartheid were not welcomed by all but apart from this they new how to run a country. What is happening now is just lop sided apartheid and the wealth is constrained by the chosen few

      wwrer.ww - 2013-01-18 18:29

      The difference is mathematics. The skill levels in that subject, and you can add science too, if your managers know and are very skilled at mathematics, and they are not greedy, very patriotic ... they can achieve miracles. They can build and run Japanese super trains, or develop a company that is a world leader in coal to petrol conversion, such as SASOL. The difference is the every day person's ability in mathematics. That is why China is doing so well. They produce something like 10 million new engineers a year. Now 10 million people, highly educated, highly skilled, able to assemble from aircraft to designing new computer chips. That's the difference, is setting a high standard and a focus on mathematical and scientific skills.

  • jason.rom.9 - 2013-01-21 08:35

    Eskom is killing south Africa slowly not nice what you have done to south Africans!!!!!!!!! business closing down because of all these hikes not fair while the fat boys eat food !

  • jason.rom.9 - 2013-01-21 08:55

    why not! we are most expensive second world class rubbish city proud to be South African

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