Is Kimberley’s mark-up for electricity 84%, or is it 27%? The Sol Plaatje Municipality is reportedly set to meet with Eskom sometime this week to discuss the discrepancy and get to the bottom of this issue.
WHILE the Chief Financial Officer of the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Zahid Cader, remains adamant that the municipality’s mark-up for electricity is around 27% – and not the 84% as announced by Eskom – the city’s Executive Mayor, Patrick Mabilo, is reportedly set to meet with Eskom this week to discuss the issue.
A virtual finance meeting on the city’s electricity tariffs was convened on Monday after a planned meeting last week failed to take place when Mabilo, Cader and a number of ANC councillors failed to arrive.
Democratic Alliance councillor, Christopher Phiri, said on Tuesday that the party was exerting pressure on the Executive Mayor to urgently convene a meeting with the Eskom regional manager in Kimberley.
“At yesterday’s meeting, Cader remained adamant that Sol Plaatje’s mark-up is more akin to 27% as opposed to the 84% as announced by Eskom Chief Executive Officer, André de Ruyter, which he said made Kimberley’s electricity the most expensive in the country,” Phiri said.
“The DA, however, is not convinced,” he insisted.
Phiri pointed out that Kimberley residents were still paying a lot more for electricity than their counterparts who either purchased electricity directly from Eskom or who lived in other, more affordable municipalities. “This is unfair,” Phiri added.
“There is absolutely nothing in Kimberley that warrants us paying exorbitant tariffs. We are by no means living in a luxury estate. Kimberley is a dilapidated, dying city. Given the disgusting state of our roads and services, we should, in fact, receive rates and tariff cuts just for continuing to put up with the rot in Sol Plaatje.”
Phiri added that while Mabilo was again absent for Monday’s meeting, Cader had offered a commitment that the Mayor would meet with Eskom in the course of the week.
“The DA insists that all councillors form part of this meeting. Hence, we are insisting that an urgent Special Council meeting is scheduled for within the week,” Phiri said.
“It is of utmost importance that, in getting to the bottom of Sol Plaatje’s electricity tariffs, there must be transparency from the very start.”
Phiri called for all figures and calculations to be presented in “black and white”.
“We need to physically see how Eskom works out the mark-up as opposed to Sol Plaatje. We need to have the assurance that what we are telling the residents of Kimberley is the truth and that we are not complicit in a Sol Plaatje cover-up.”
He said that a time when life had become unbearably expensive, tariffs did matter.
“The DA will therefore not be misled by Sol Plaatje management. The bottom line is that our electricity is overpriced. It needs to be brought in line with the tariffs of the rest of the country, and it must reflect fairness and affordability.”
The Sol Plaatje Municipality has indicated that it doesn’t know how Eskom calculated the 84% mark-up on local electricity tariffs and has slammed the statement as incorrect and misleading.
Following an urgent meeting with finance officials last month, Mabilo said he would contact and seek clarity from Eskom and Nersa regarding the allegations of an 84% electricity mark-up.
“Our preliminary (unaudited) outcomes for the 2019/20 financial year indicates that the municipality purchased electricity from Eskom to the amount of R520.8m and billed out an amount of R664.7m (not cash received).
“This equates to a mark-up of R143.9m, which, when expressed as a percentage, is a mark-up of 27.6%,” Mabilo stated.