Price hike disruptions: We’re as surprised as you are – Numsa

2013-01-16 17:57

A public hearing into Eskom’s application for electricity price hikes was disrupted in Port Elizabeth.

“The public hearing was adjourned due to disruption by members of the National Union of Metal Workers (Numsa) inside the venue,” said National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) spokesperson Charles Hlebela.

However, 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 allow 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 that 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 that 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 by 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.”

SHARE:

Read News24’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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Sometimes stepping back and taking a moment to reflect on things is an important part of understanding the bigger picture. If you...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.