MEC must intervene in school electricity tariff hikes

James Masango MPL

Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition

Mpumalanga education MEC Reginah Mhaule must as a matter of urgency engage with Premier David Mabuza and her colleagues in the executive council, and find a speedy solution to ever-increasing electricity tariff hikes faced by schools across the province.

The recent astronomical electricity price increases in the Steve Tshwete municipality have severely affected local schools, with principals urgently wishing to meet with Mayor Mike Masina to discuss these and other tariff increases.

The effect of the tariff hikes will be felt by schools across the province, and the hardest hit will be no-fee schools – who can least afford it. As matters presently stand, no-fee schools only receive a round R90 000 a year to pay for their municipal services, and will almost definitely end up having electricity and municipal services suspended at some point during the year.

MEC Mhaule and the executive council owe quality education to thousands of learners and their teachers across the province, which will not be the case if crucial electricity supply to schools has been cut.

The DA will write to MEC Mhaule requesting her to take the necessary steps to find a workable solution to the impending crisis, as schools are in the process of finalising their 2013 operating budgets, and have to curtail other expenditure to make up for the increased electricity tariffs.

The DA believes that a request to local municipalities to reduce electricity tariffs to schools would be a positive start, until a more workable solution can be found.

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