By Cllr Marina van Zyl, Gariep Municipality:
In a council meeting yesterday (subs: 30 June 2015), the Gariep municipal manager, Thembinkosi Mawonga, advised council to adopt the budget for 2015/16 with a proposed increase in electricity tariff of 17%. This exceeds the 12.2% that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) has approved.
Gariep Municipality had applied for a 17% increase on their electricity tariff but is still awaiting confirmation from Nersa in this regard.
According to the provisions of Section 15 (2) of the Electricity Regulation Act of 2006, licensees must apply to the Energy Regulator for approval of tariffs higher than the 12.2% benchmark before implementing any increases on the 1st of July 2015.
The municipal manager has therefore advised council to approve the budget without the necessary approval from Nersa.
The Democratic Alliance has minuted its objection against the approval of this budget due to the fact that it has been based on a wish list regarding tariff increases that have not been approved by the relevant authority.
The DA believes that the municipal manager has acted ultra vires and that his recommendation constitutes an unlawful act. The DA’s shadow ministers of energy, Gordon Mackay, and of cooperative governance, Kevin Mileham, will be writing urgently to their respective ministers to clarify and rectify the situation.
The DA believes that Gariep municipality and council are acting irresponsibly in this regard, and passing a budget without the necessary approval is equivalent to reckless trading.
In a society where freedom and fairness prevails, its citizens are protected against such irresponsible actions.