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Consumers left reeling

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There will be no quick-fix solutions to the economic malaise that we are grappling with as a country

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SOUTH Africans must arguably be the most hard-pressed consumers in the world right now following a series of steep increases that will leave them out of pocket for many years to come.

The staggering 9.41% electricity price hikes announced by the National Energy Regulator of SA last week will have a devastating impact on small businesses, farmers and cash-strapped consumers.

The latest electricity tariff increase comes in the wake of another hike of petrol prices announced recently. This is likely to have a ripple effect as suppliers will pass it on to consumers, leading to rocketing food and transport costs.

As President Cyril Ramaphosa’s New Dawn seeks to turn around the fortunes of the country’s economy, it is clear that things are going to get extremely difficult before they get better.

There will be no quick-fix solutions to the economic malaise that we are grappling with as a country.

It is also clear that the days of cheap electricity are long gone, and maybe it is high time for consumers to look at solar power as an alternative.

The private sector or some innovative entrepreneur needs to investigate how solar power, which is expensive to install, can be made more affordable for the benefit of the country.

Municipalities, which act as middlemen between Eskom and consumers, must also try by all means to cushion the blow to their customers from the recent increases.

It is reassuring to hear eThekwini Municipality’s chief financial officer Krish Kumar saying they sympathise with consumers and that they will do everything to minimise the increases.