Evictions put on hold

2016-12-07 06:02
Brian Sechotlho, the head of department for electricity pricing and tarriffs, says they can only align electricity tariffs to those of other areas. Photo: Boipelo Mere

Brian Sechotlho, the head of department for electricity pricing and tarriffs, says they can only align electricity tariffs to those of other areas. Photo: Boipelo Mere

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All illegal evictions in and around the Sol Plaatje Municipality will be put on hold for December and January unless there is proper engagement or alternative accommodation in place for the evictees.

This is according to the mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Mangaliso Matika, after what he described as a fruitful discussion with the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) on Monday morning (05/12).

The municipality held a press briefing on Monday to respond to the memorandum that was handed over to the mayor during a march by the SACP in partnership with the Kapa Bokone Community Development Foundation on Friday, 28 November.

The march was to demand that the municipality addresses the high electricity tariffs and the continuous illegal evictions experienced in the Sol Plaatje Municipality.

A way forward will be determined by the municipality after thorough engagements, where the SACP and the municipality will exchange various information in each party’s possession.

Elaborating on the other demand around the high electricity tariffs, Matika pointed out that the Sol Plaatje Municipality is compliant with tariffs as regulated by Nersa.

However, he singled out discrepancies that need to be taken into consideration where the tariffs differ due to the supplier.

The briefing, chaired in partnership with Nersa, gave clarity on how areas like Ritchie benefit from cheaper electricity tariffs through direct supply by Eskom.

“It is in situations like these that we will not have a price system that is equal in all areas,” Matika said.

The municipality promised to strengthen public participation amongst the community and Eskom with regard to the electricity pricing system in an effort to avoid conflict.

Lebogang Lekwene of the SACP emphasised the need to align the tariffs through stakeholder engagement meetings where the price of electricity tariffs can be determined.

“As a party, we are impressed with the first stakeholder meeting and we will be going back to the drawing board with the municipality and Nersa to do extra work”.

Brian Sechotlho, the head of department for electricity pricing and tariffs, pledged Nersa’s support towards the municipality to get the prices to be aligned based on the cost of supply studies.

He stressed the point that they are not going to get tariffs to be equal to other areas, but to be aligned to other areas taking into consideration the differences between the municipalities.

According to Sechotlho, Nersa has in the past two years been limiting the price increase to the Sol Plaatje Municipality around the inflation rate, while other municipalities were charged inflation plus five or six percentage points.

He stated the possibility of making the mistake of not involving everyone in seeing the brighter picture.

The municipality
promised to strengthen public participation amongst the community and Eskom with regard to the electricity

pricing system in an effort of avoiding conflict.

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