Home Opinion and Features A timely ’nix’ could stop their tricks

A timely ’nix’ could stop their tricks

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The rumour mill is grinding out juicy gossip that the municipality is planning to hike electricity tariffs in ways that will make Kimberley residents’ eyes water, writes Lance Fredericks.

File picture: Pexels

THERE was always that one laaitie who only enjoyed playing with the other children if they were winning the game.

Whatever game it was, whether it was cowboys and Indians or hide and seek, if this youngster wasn’t winning, the game was, in their opinion, ‘no fun’.

Being on the losing side would result in them pouting, throwing tantrums, or using the ultimate antidote to losing; the one word that would reset everything and give you an opportunity to start again and hopefully do better.

That word was “nix”.

In the English language, nix means “to refuse to accept something”, and if that laaitie refused to accept the fact that he or she was losing, the nix was hauled out and we’d all have to – reluctantly – go back to our starting positions with, I may add, the rules tweaked ever so slightly to favour that laaitie who had been losing.

Look, it was common to use nix on the playground; I think we all whipped out our nixes from time to time. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy a reset from time to time?

But I was both amused and surprised when I heard that nix had migrated from the kiddies playground to the club cricket level. A friend told me the story – he swears it’s true – that an opponent, playing his first club cricket game, walked in to bat, took guard and then stood at the ready, waiting for the bowler to run in.

Oh the bowler ran in alright. He ran in like an express train and delivered a rocket into the new batsman’s blockhole, bowling him neck and crop and uprooting the leg stump in the process.

The bewildered batsman appealed to the umpire – yes, I said the batsman appealed. “No! Nix Mr Umpire! I am not taking that one,” he protested to the chorus of laughter from the players who were congratulating the bowler.

Listening to the story, I was sure that had he been granted his ‘nix’ he would have insisted that the bowler bowl quite a bit slower and this time keep the delivery in his arc as he swung to cow corner.

I am certain that as he trudged back to the dressing room he probably wished he had said nix earlier … at the very least.

I almost said nix on Wednesday when a friend sent a voice-note to my phone.

Here is what I picked up: The rumour mill is grinding out juicy gossip again – and I am only sharing this because I don’t believe it can be true – that the municipality is planning to hike electricity tariffs in ways that will make Kimberley residents’ eyes water.

Apparently the proposal, which is allegedly being favoured by a majority of councillors, is such that every household will have to pay a basic charge for having access to electricity … a charge in the region of R65!

But not only that; on top of the basic charge there’s a proposed ‘capacity charge’ of around R181 added to this … yes, this seems to mean that before you purchase your first unit of electricity, you will have to pay, not R65, but almost R250!

And if the rumours are true, there’s more bad news. The R246 you pay just to have the privilege of having electricity will be riding on the back of an increase in the price of electricity from R2.03 per unit – which already is ridiculous – to a cringeworthy R2.19 per unit!

These hikes – according to the ‘ridiculous rumours’ – are being discussed and adopted as you read this, as the municipal councillors do their budget planning meeting for the next five years.

I call it ‘ridiculous rumours’ because if it were true, there would have been public consultation and more people would have been aware of the proposed hike. Also, there would be a stamp of approval by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. However, the mere fact that Kimberlites are already paying R2.03 per unit makes me wonder if sometimes hikes can happen without Nersa’s approval.

With electricity prices going through the roof, sewage seeping into the veld, municipal workers doing the Riverdance on potholes and the city’s sidewalks being overgrown with weeds, which company would want to invest in this city?

“Aha,” you may argue, “but if we pay more for the power, maybe the additional funds can be channelled to bringing back the sparkle to the Diamond City!” Nope, think again! The bulk of those funds generated by these proposed charges are rumoured to be earmarked for salary hikes of those discussing the budget.

That’s why I am calling these proposed hikes a ridiculous rumour … I have to be honest; I cannot believe that a municipality, the body that is supposed to be looking after residents and improving their living conditions, and seeing to it that the city develops or at least doesn’t disintegrate, can be considering exploiting the residents and ratepayers with the aim of padding their own salaries.

However, if it is true that councillors are debating and adopting their strategy to force households further under the poverty line, then I believe it would be time for residents of this town to speak to their political parties and especially their Ward councillors and make it clear that these hikes will never be acceptable.

And this cannot be done later on by someone else. If these budget proposals are being favoured by councillors, then every citizen has the responsibility to stand up and voice their disapproval.

This cannot be left to Joe Bloggs down the road, or to the moderator of your suburb’s WhatsApp group … this is personal and urgent! Because if Kimberlites don’t speak up with a resounding NO today, this proposed budget WILL, according to the ridiculous rumours, be adopted by the end of May, and come into effect in July.

And by that time, it would be too late, far too late to say nix!

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