Eskom executives live lavishly as SA citizens suffer from rolling blackouts - Mtwentwe

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Khustaz Mtwentwe has called out the big guns. Photo: Supplied
Khustaz Mtwentwe has called out the big guns. Photo: Supplied


Eskom executives have been slammed for living lavishly while South Africans struggle under the weight of rolling blackouts. This is according to march organiser and spokesperson for #StandUpSA - a newly formed organisation against load shedding - Khustaz Mtwentwe, who added: 

Load shedding has been ongoing relentlessly for over 15 years. We have had enough. We all have witnessed how present and former Eskom executives and the current government have destroyed what was once the best utility company in the world.

"These executives remain millionaires to this day. The government and Eskom continue to mishandle and mismanaged this crisis. We have now reached a turning point."

He addressed a crowd of protesters, who on Thursday afternoon marched to Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill in Johannesburg. They protested against Eskom's failure to keep the lights on and the National Energy Regulator of SA's (Nersa) approval of an 18.65% electricity tariff increase set to take effect from April 1.

"Even though empty promises of ending these blackouts were given, to this day, load shedding continues and the crisis has gone from bad to worse with each passing year."

Power outages have in recent months escalated, reaching Stage 6, leaving South Africans without power for up to eight hours a day. 

READ: 'Eskom's insults institute violence on SA citizens with rolling blackouts'

Mtwentwe called on South Africans to rise against government's failures and not back down until rolling blackouts were a thing of the past.

In a memorandum of demands handed over to Eskom's representatives, the organisation demanded that the power utility:

- Gives SA an accurate plan to get to zero load shedding with timelines, milestones and regular stakeholder engagements;

- Publish its supplier contracts, terms and conditions;

- Cease from implementing a surcharge or tariffs for solar users, and solar power installations must be tax deductible. 

Addressing the looming tariff hike set to come into effect on April 1, Mtwentwe said: "We are not paying that 18%," adding that it was unfair for South Africans to pay high prices for electricity while they are forced to contend with load shedding.

"When the government condones what we condemn, we have a responsibility not to obey unjust orders," he said. 

Last month, Nersa gave the power utility the go-ahead to implement the 18.65% increase.

Echoing Mtwentwe's sentiment was Siyabulela Jentile, the president of civil organisation Not In My Name International, who urged South Africans not to tire of protesting until rolling blackouts were brought under control.

He told City Press: 

Being silent makes us cowards. And the only platform we have as South Africans, to register our frustrations, is protest action and marches.

Addressing the crowd, Jentile who did not mince his words, said that South Africans had no time to "massage Eskom's feelings" as the power utility "is killing us every day".

"They are insulting us every day. They are instituting violence against us and our people every day and that has to stop. This country was not liberated by massaging the current regime," he lamented. 

Thursday's march was one of the few marches against load shedding that South African citizens have seen take place across the country.

READ: ANC's arrogance is to the detriment of poor South Africans - protesters

Last month, the DA marched to Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg to protest against prolonged load shedding and cadre deployment to the Cabinet. 

Days before, civil organisation Not In My Name International marched to Nersa's offices, as well as the Union Buildings in Pretoria. 

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