Power play: IFP to march in Durban over load shedding, wants Nersa's 'ludicrous decision' reversed

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The IFP announced it would be organising a march in Durban over the crippling effects of load shedding.
The IFP announced it would be organising a march in Durban over the crippling effects of load shedding.
PHOTO: Zimbili Vilakazi
  • The IFP has announced a march against load shedding in Durban on 3 February.
  • The party will also launch an online petition to give citizens the right to air their views on Eskom being granted an 18.65% price hike by Nersa.
  • The party called the price hike "ludicrous" and wants it to be "swiftly reversed".

The IFP will hold a protest in Durban next month against the energy crisis engulfing the country.

The party has also announced that it will soon launch an online petition against the 18.65% tariff hike granted to Eskom by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).

Spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said in a statement that the party was concerned about the state of affairs at Eskom, which he said was "leading to the literal collapse of South Africa".

"Load shedding is no longer an occasional inconvenience, but has quickly become the new normal, devastating lives and businesses across the country," he added.

For this reason, he said, the IFP would join a court challenge with other political parties, civil society leaders, and NPOs following the failure to provide a stable power supply to the country.

READ | Chicken crisis: 10 million chicks culled in six weeks due to load shedding

The IFP, UDM leader Bantu Holomisa, Build One South Africa leader Mmusi Maimane, policy analyst Lukhona Mnguni, the National Union of Metalworkers, and several NPOs have written to Eskom CEO André de Ruyter and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan, threatening a legal challenge over the electricity crisis. The letter was issued to De Ruyter and Gordhan on Monday.

De Ruyter resigned in December, but said he will step down as CEO at the end of March 2023.

In the statement, Hlengwa said: "We fundamentally believe that there has been a clear dereliction of constitutional duties on the part of the government. They accepted the responsibility of operating the country's sole state-owned energy provider and must, in turn, be willing to accept responsibility for – and the consequences of – their actions and inaction."

He announced that the IFP would hold a protest in Durban on 3 February over the government's and Eskom's failure to provide electricity to the nation. The DA also announced that it would be marching to the ANC headquarters, Luthuli House, on 25 January against load shedding.

Hlengwa said the party's national executive committee (NEC) had also rejected the 18.65% price hike that Nersa granted to Eskom, and called for what he termed a "ludicrous decision" to be "swiftly reversed".

He added: 

The IFP will be launching an online petition in the coming days to protest Nersa's action and give citizens an opportunity to stand up to what is tantamount to consumer bullying. These irrational, unreasonable increases will be crippling to millions of consumers and could deliver the final death blow to hundreds, if not thousands of SMMEs (Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises).

On Tuesday, DA leader John Steenhuisen announced that the party had instructed its lawyers to approach the High Court seeking an urgent interdict to halt the Nersa-approved electricity hikes. 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the Department of Small Business Development said that it was working on an energy relief package for SMMEs. This is after a research study by one of its agencies found that small businesses were negatively impacted by load shedding.

"Our aim is to find immediate solutions that can be urgently [effected] to avoid disastrous consequences, such as the closure of small businesses and job losses in the SMME sector. This sector was devastated and is still barely recovering from the ruinous effects of Covid-19. We cannot afford losing more businesses and jobs," said Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

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