DA calls for privatisation of Eskom, raises concerns about the rising cost of living
DA SHADOW finance minister Tim Harris has called on the government to privatise power utility Eskom.
In advocating a position that will most certainly be opposed by labour, Harris argued that Eskom's dominance in the electricity industry was responsible for continuous tariff increases that have hit millions of consumers hard.
The cost of electricity rose by 16% on April 1. This was another in a long line of increments implemented by the utility, including 24.8% and 25.8% electricity tariff hikes in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The shadow minister said yesterday the increases amounted to an effective 82.3% hike in the price of electricity over the past three years.
Harris also proposed that, as a means of offsetting future crippling increases, parts of Eskom's power-generation capabilities be sold off to allow private power generators to enter the market.
He said introducing new players into the industry would go a long way in offering competitive prices to ratepayers.
The sector's regulator, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa, also received a lot of criticism.
Harris accused the entity of casting a financial burden on South Africans by passing Eskom's multi-billion rand projects on to consumers.
The power utility is currently in the midst of a R300-billion building programme which includes the building of Medupi and Kusile coal power stations.
Yesterday's media briefing, which was also attended by the party's national spokesman Mmusi Maimane, raised concerns about the rising cost of living.
The party noted significant increases in the price of petrol, electricity and monthly train tickets between December last year and this month.