By Athol Trollip, DA Mayoral Candidate: Nelson Mandela Bay:
With forecasted GDP growth of just 0.3% for 2016’s first quarter, it is absolute insanity for Eskom to be considering a 17% tariff hike.
Nelson Mandela Bay is in the grips of an unemployment crisis with almost 50% of our youth without jobs. Increasing tariffs will drive up industry overheads, increasing consumer prices and obliterating much needed employment for thousands of residents.
The DA is committed to building and protecting a society of entrepreneurs, backed up by an effective education system, a fair budget, infrastructure maintenance and a red tape free bureaucracy.
With collapsing municipal infrastructure and a failure by the NMB municipality to expand the electricity network, residents are about to suffer yet another blow at the hands of these proposed tariff hikes.
The insider-outsider economy is being worsened by a steadily growing municipal infrastructure backlog that currently sits at approximately R4 billion. When the ANC in NMB cut the maintenance infrastructure budget by R123 million last year, it turned away from job creation and the provision of quality services to this Metro’s most vulnerable residents.
Poor management of Eskom, under the watch of the ANC, has forced the utility into a cash emergency, the effects of which are being felt by everyday South Africans.
It is this local government’s responsibility to compensate for shocking national government decisions by rejecting these tariff hikes and rolling out jobs programmes.
Change is coming to NMB, and with it a new era of freedom, fairness and opportunity.