“They increase the price of everything while salaries remain the same.“
ESKOM’S 15 percent tariff hike has not gone down well with consumers who feel it will add more burden to the cost of living that is already too high, coupled with some having had to take salary cuts due to the Covid19 pandemic.
“Already life is expensive … I found it unfair because they increase the price of everything while salaries remain the same. Right now the taxi industry is increasing fares because petrol prices also went up. It’s even ridiculous that Eskom is increasing the prices while we continue to experience load shedding,” said 32-year-old Teboho Mabote from Sebokeng.
“Some of us are getting a minimum wage and already we are struggling to pay for electricity. Some of us are unemployed. How will they afford to buy electricity? I would understand if it was 7% because 15% is too much,” he said.
Mamolesuwa Moleleki, 34, also said the 15% increase was too much, asking for the government to provide free electricity.
“Already I am struggling to buy food because I don’t earn that much. The government should provide free electricity for the unemployed and those earning less than R5,000. I can’t buy electricity when I don’t have food at home,” she said.
Bokang Matla, 38, said this has shown that the government was selfish and cares little about the people.
“They don’t care because their benefits cover those expenses, they care little about us poor people. How do they increase electricity and fuel prices while they told us about a three-year salary freeze for government employees?” asked Moleleki.
Another consumer, Zanele Ngcobo, said the tariff would make life harder than before.
“These people are not serious at all. Everything is expensive and now this. I had to reduce my expenses after taking a salary cut at work last year. Now I will have to sacrifice more to afford electricity. It’s hard.”
Soweto activist Seth Mazibuko said: “I just don’t understand our government. They would give you R350 as a relief fund from Covid19 and allow Eskom to get it back through increasing electricity tariffs. How on earth does Eskom consider raising its tariffs in the aftermath of the high level of Covid-19. If Eskom and the government consider and care for the poor, a plan would be developed to protect the poor and jobless from the increase or consideration has to be given for those who lost their jobs during Covid-19.”
Political analyst Metji Makgoba echoed the cash-strapped consumers’ sentiments, adding that this will entrench inequality in society.
“The government does not care about the poor people of this country and proves every day that the ANC has become a spineless and pathetic movement that is gradually running down the state. These are consequences of advancing capitalism and right-wing policies that believe in the externalisation of political responsibility to citizens when it suits the ruling and political elite.
“The government should think about ways to raise funds for Eskom without hurting the poor. It is high time that Eskom develops ways of charging electricity prices according to people’s level of affordability.
“I do not understand the logic behind forcing the unemployed, the unemployable and the poor to pay for electricity,” said Makgoba.