'No problem for ANC to be in business'

BUSINESS Unity SA sees no problem in the ANC's involvement in Eskom's multi-billion rand expansion programme, it said yesterday.

It further condemned labour's proposal for corporate taxes to be used to mediate electricity tariff hikes.

Addressing the media in Johannesburg yesterday, Busa chief executive Jerry Vilakazi said Busa would not have a problem with the ruling party being in business, through its business arm Chancellor House.

"There's no problem as long as there is an open process, and proper checks and balances are conducted for the transparent issuing of tenders," he said.

Vilakazi said Eskom was not the only state-owned enterprise and using corporate tax for one entity would have a "detrimental effect".

"The moment a corporate tax is used for Eskom's challenges, you will create a situation where in future, if the need arises, you will also resort to corporate tax."

The business federation also reiterated its support for the power utility's $3,75billion (about R27billion) project loan from World Bank.

Vilakazi said the failure to borrow sensibly for Eskom's needs would either mean higher electricity tariffs or the risk of load shedding if the construction of the Medupi power station was not completed in time.

Busa, which has recently urged its members to avoid the temptation of charging inflated prices during the World Cup, said it regarded Cosatu's threats to protest during the tournament as not being in the interests of South Africa and the workers.

"Most of the workers depend on the favourable sentiment of foreign investors who will be visiting the country at the time to ensure that their employment remained sustainable," Vilakazi said.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said the federation agreed with Busa's position and attributed the "misleading" impression that Cosatu planned to disrupt the World Cup to the media.

"Our planned electricity protest has nothing to do with the World Cup. The timing of our protest will not be aimed at the World Cup and we hope it will take place long before the tournament begins," he said.