Cosatu calls for in­ter­ven­tion

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS NEWS -

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.

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