Anthony Benadie MPL
Provincial Leader – Mpumalanga
The Steve Tshwete Local Municipality is being placed under increased pressure to revise the exorbitant electricity tariff increases, as residents from all walks of life are taking a stand against increasing exploitation.
Today the DA, the Concerned Consumers Forum and hundreds of residents marched on the local municipality complex in Middelburg to hand over more than 10 000 signatures in objection to the increases.
The increases have had a devastating domino effect on the local economy. Businesses and residents were suddenly forced to pay almost double for their electricity, forcing them to cut back severely on all other expenses, which reduced and forced some business owners to cut back on staff or to close down.
The DA is also highly concerned of the effect the increases will have on schools in the area, especially no-fee schools – who cannot charge school fees to cover their expenses. In fact, it is very likely that electricity supply will be cut in the near future, as the Department of Education simply does not have the additional funds for increased subsidies.
With no viable plans to attract investment and creating jobs, the municipality has opted to milk consumers for every cent they have. The current economic climate is making this practise more and more unsustainable, as taxpayers simply do not have the wherewithal to continue carrying this burden, and will soon reach breaking point.
The electricity tariffs as implemented by the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality are simply unaffordable.