Power: Municipalities should moderate hikes‘Go easy on tariffs’

2013-03-04 00:00

WITH Eskom granted half of its16% tariff increase request by the National Energy Regulator of SA [Nersa] last week, municipalities have no reason to overcharge consumers.

Addressing a post-budget breakfast at the Pietermaritzburg Imperial Hotel on Saturday, Deputy Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene urged municipalities to be moderate when passing on electricity tariff hikes.

“Consumers are anxiously waiting for announcements by municipalities on increases,” said Nene.

The call by the deputy minister was good news for Pietermaritzburg residents after the Msunduzi Municipality’s recent proposal of an 18% increase on electricity, 10% on water and 5,5% on all rates, which had been widely criticised by both business and residents, calling it “daylight robbery”.

Among other things, Nene spoke against corruption, encouraged businesses to provide opportunities for unemployed youth, and explained how the government was able to give R7 billion in tax-relief.

“As government we could not raise the tax rate in an ailing economy. We decided to rather put money back into people’s pockets in the form of disposable income so that those people can come and spend the money back in the economy.

“But when that happens we also have to make sure that those that have to pay, pay what is due to the state,” he said.

Incentives for employing youth received the thumbs up in the national budget last week, Nene said hopefully everyone would now focus on empowering the youth.

“I think the time has come for us to put our differences aside and stop pursuing our personal agendas, and instead work towards assisting young people of our country who are hard-hit by unemployment,” he said.

He said corruption was a well-coordinated “project” in the country that needed to be fought against as it stifled economic growth.

The meeting was attended by KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, his wife May, Umgungundlovu District Municipality Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee, Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela, Durban businessman Vivian Reddy and local businesswoman Zinhle Sokhela.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

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