Disruption mars Eskom hearing

Jan 16 2013 19:00

Electricity pylons in Beaufort West. Nersa is holding public hearings on Eskom's proposed revenue price determination. (Picture: Chris Kirchhoff/MCSA)

Related Articles

Questions over Eskom pricing

Eskom: Tariff hikes the only way

Eskom must be sustainable - CEO

Civil society to challenge Eskom hikes

Eskom faces price hike protests

Eskom price hikes unaffordable

Johannesburg - A public hearing into Eskom's application for electricity price hikes was disrupted in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) said.

"The public hearing was adjourned due to disruption by members of the National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) inside the venue," spokesperson Charles Hlebela said.

In a statement Numsa national spokesperson  Castro Ngobese denied that union members caused the disruption and called Nersa's comments "poisonous and malicious".

"As Numsa, we would like to inform all South Africans that we were as surprised as the regulator when members of the public stormed inside the hearing venue in the opulent and leafy suburb of Summerstand in Port Elizabeth."

Eskom has asked for a 16% increase in electricity prices each year for the next five years.

This would take the price of electricity from 61 cents a kilowatt hour in 2012/13 to 128 cents a kWh in 2017/18 - more than doubling the price over five years.

The current multi-year price determination, MYPD2, ends on March 31 2013.
The hearing was conducted to allowed members of the public and other interested parties to make submissions.

Ngobese said the disruption was never sanctioned by Numsa or by any of its elected leadership.

"We fully understand the motives and anger behind the disruption of the hearing, but we don’t agree with the approach as carried by members of the public.

"The disruption undermines both their grievances and legitimate demands we are putting on the table, for Nersa not to approve Eskom’s application."

He said Nersa should consider the views of both union and community leaders to hold these important hearings in areas which are accessible to ordinary communities, "so that these hearings do not become aloof talkshops amongst the elitist or the privileged class".

Finally, Numsa asked members of the public to adhere to the picketing rules and to allow Nersa to continue with the hearings without any form of disruption or intimidation.

Hlebela said Numsa was demanding Nersa conduct seven public hearings in seven districts of the Eastern Cape, he said.

"Nersa is seriously concerned about the action taken by Numsa members that seeks to prevent the energy regulator from implementing its mandate and denying stakeholders and the public to exercise their democratic right."

Hlebela said Nersa was notified by Numsa's national office that it was granted permission to picket outside the public hearing venue.

However, the conditions stipulated picketing be restricted to the entrance of the venue at a demarcated area, that no entrance or exits were blocked, and that there were no interference with patrons of the hotel.

"Numsa did not abide to the above conditions and Nersa strongly condemns the actions taken by Numsa members."

Hlebela said Nersa would continue to conduct the public hearings in other provinces.

"The continuation of the public hearings in the Eastern Cape will be announced in due course."

eskom  |  electricity tariffs



Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

We're talking about: MINI BUDGET

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has laid bare South Africa's economic woes. Visit our Mini Budget Special for all the action.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

Free education in South Africa is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote