Activists hit with R500 fine

2012-10-25 00:00

FOURTEEN activists who were arrested in Johannesburg for “putting Eskom under new management” on Tuesday were fined R500 each after an admission of guilt on a trespassing charge.

They appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday where they had two other charges dropped.

Speaking to The Witness on his way to catch a flight to Durban from O.R. Tambo International, groundWork director Bobby Peek said the “frivolous” charges were due to “Eskom trying to make life difficult”.

Peek and the other activists were released from the Sandton police station at midnight on Tuesday on R500 bail.

“This has raised the issue in the public domain,” Peek said about Eskom’s proposed 16% electricity tariff hike. People will have to pay 16% more for electricity, while BHP Billiton will still be paying for power at below the cost price,” he said.

He said they would now go into the townships to get people talking about the issue.

“We want to get people in townships to start talking about, and understanding the issue,” he said.

The protest was staged at Eskom’s Megawatt Park headquarters in Sunninghill, Johannesburg.

Peek said they had been trying to speak to the power utility about the issue for many years, but have been continually ignored.

“Our voices will not be crushed by those who abuse power. The South African government and Eskom have to put the people of this country first by creating a clean energy future,” Peek was quoted in a statement released by groundWork.

Among the 14 activists who were arrested and held at the Sandton police station for 12 hours were Earthlife Africa’s Makoma Lekalakala and Greenpeace’s Melita Steele.

After being released, Peek said he was looking forward to returning home to be with his wife and young children.

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