News24

Room crammed for Nersa hearings

2010-01-21 22:28

Pretoria - People attending Nersa's hearings on Eskom's proposed 35% tariff increase crammed into a medium-sized conference room at Gallagher Estate in Midrand on Thursday.

Suited businessmen and women squeezed into seats, some taking up places on the floor, while other observers held placards denouncing the proposed price hike.

Some read: "We want solar power", "No to 35% increase" and "Eishkom".

Security guards chased them through the aisles to try and take away their placards.

Proceedings were briefly halted when one woman from Earthlife refused to leave and tried to evade officials by running along the side of the hall.

"You don't know why I'm here and you don't understand what's happening here," she said loudly before her placard was torn up and she was asked to leave.

Three people arrested

The main entrance to Gallagher Estate was closed after toyi-toying protesters bearing placards gathered there. Motorists were directed to another entrance, as it appeared the group refused to move.

Three people were arrested. According to Ferrial Adam of Earthlife, a small group of their activists stuck several posters on the walls inside the venue.

"Gallagher Estate's private security personnel arrived and tore down all the posters, whilst forcibly escorting those activists identified as the perpetrators outside the venue," Adams said.

When a larger group of Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) activists arrived, they were refused entry to the conference.

"Three of the APF/Earthlife activists tried to reason with the police and to inform them of their democratic right to participate in the public hearing going on inside the building.

"The police then assaulted, arrested and hauled them off to the Midrand police station where they were charged with public violence and resisting arrest," Adams claimed.
 

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