Cosatu calls for intervention
THE GOVERNMENT has a duty to intervene and help municipalities owing billions of rands to Eskom, labour union federation Cosatu said yesterday. The federation urged the government to work with Eskom and the defaulting municipalities to find a compromise, instead of cutting off electricity and plunging many communities into darkness. “Eskom’s decision will have a negative effect on our already struggling economy. Cutting electricity may result in businesses such as farms and mines retrenching workers, when we cannot afford to lose a single job,” the trade union federation said in a statement. “National government cannot allow these municipalities to deal with this problem alone; it has a responsibility of ensuring affordability, especially for poor households. As a result of rising unemployment, incomes for the majority have virtually stagnated in real terms,” Cosatu said. “That makes it hard for households to afford electricity, especially at these current prices, where Eskom has been granted ridiculous permission to increase electricity prices by more than 250 percent over the last couple of years.” Eskom would not budge from its decision to cut power supply to defaulting municipalities in the North West, Free State, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape. Municipalities owe Eskom as much as R10 billion.