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Oudtshoorn Municipality Opposes Eskom Tariff Hike

Oudtshoorn, 17 January 2023 – Oudtshoorn Municipality will do everything it can to oppose the unjust increase of 18,6% in its tariffs. The Executive Mayor of the Greater Oudtshoorn, Alderman Chris Macpherson, says this increase will further impoverish the poor and the needy and will place unreasonable pressure on residents already struggling under harsh economic circumstances. Furthermore, the increase will have far-reaching negative implications on the budget of the municipality.

“This rash and irrational decision by a service provider which currently does not even achieve 50% of its service delivery can cause already floundering municipalities to collapse. How can Eskom punish the few municipalities who diligently pay their accounts and also make it impossible for those who are in arrears to redress their situation?”

Mayor Macpherson says the government and Eskom should be challenged to publish a list of municipalities that owe Eskom billions in outstanding accounts as well as the state of payments by neighboring countries who receive power from Eskom. “It is time that taxpayers and municipalities who pay their accounts regularly, say ‘Enough is enough’ and force the government to accept responsibility for the corruption and state capture which has crippled the country. Eskom is a shocking example of what happens when a government allows self-interest and self-enrichment to be a priority. How on earth can the government simply stand by and allow tariff hikes while billions are outstanding from municipalities and neighbouring countries?”

The Mayor also said that SALGA, which is the national voice of 257 municipalities, has already expressed deep concern regarding the increase. “Many municipalities have also expressed their opposition to the tariff hikes in writing to Eskom and NERSA.”

Load shedding has already resulted in serious economic implications for the municipality which will be intensified by the increase in tariffs:

  • Businesses lost vital trading hours which impacts the income and salaries of staff, This, in turn, has a negative impact on municipal services being paid.
  • The Municipality currently spends hundreds of thousands of rands on fuel for generators being used at various points.
  • As a result of load shedding, water supply to De Rust, Dysselsdorp and the rural water scheme is a huge challenge because pumps cannot operate long enough to keep the reservoir at capacity. This means that water lorries have to cover great distances to supply water to these areas resulting in enormous costs for diesel and services.

It is clear that the Municipality cannot wait for Eskom to get back on schedule and is forced to look at alternative ways of generating electricity. This includes:

  • Purchasing power from independent suppliers who use solar power
  • The development of a 100MW solar plant
  • Discussions about the possibility of generating hydro-power at the Raubenheimerdam

The installation of UPS systems to operate traffic lights.