An open letter from Community Activist, Tumelo Mosikare, to The Mayor of Sol Plaatje Municipality, Mangaliso Matika:
ELECTRICITY TARIFF INCREAS (1.88%)
Esteemed Mayor of the Sol Plaatje Municipality
We write this letter in celebration of your vigorous, human and revolutionary approach to the challenges faced by citizens of your municipality. You have in little time made strides towards availing land to those who used to live in uninhabitable tight squeezed informal settlements, you have time and again responded with action to the calls for help by the community and where you have promised to “look into a matter”, you have done so and have always brought back feedback to the community; case in point being the matter of the high electricity tariffs affecting all in Sol Plaatje Municipality rich and poor, more so the poor and elderly.
This letter is tabled to you in response to the intended actions by the Sol Plaatje Municipality (Electricity Tariff increase by 1.88%). Mayor, all the efforts of your administration to attend to the plight of the poor are well observed and appreciated; we bring this issue to your attention once again as it seems what we have brought to the attention of the Municipality is not being taken seriously by the administrative team. The study that is quoted as having been undertaken by the Municipality as quoted in the 1 June 2017 Article in the DFA under the headline “City power could be cut by 28% – Study”, brought much delight to us as we have been tirelessly lobbying to highlight the challenge to Municipality. The content of the article however put more emphasis of the “could” part of the title, suggesting that the tariffs will not be decreased by 28% next financial year, save if administrative mechanisms are implemented more efficiently. This suggests two things: 1. We the consumer are punished through high tariffs as a result of maladministration 2. The Municipality is aware what the challenge is and is not willing to take full action to rectify this and wishes to continue overcharging us in this current financial year and furthermore that despite the study showing that we are being overcharged the municipality is further going to increase the over charge by a further 1.88% to 29.88%.
Honourable Mayor, we now bring to your attention the obvious fact that the administration that is responsible for setting the tariffs is doing so sporadically, irresponsibly and to the detriment of the community and businesses. This point is brought to your attention after having observed the ease at which the current electricity tariff is being set:
Initially according to the past plans the electricity tariffs were to increase by 7+% which had no clear basis for costs. After we interacted with the Municipality and your intervention the tariff was tabled at 4.5% at your 29 March Budget Speech at the Kimberley City hall, where an undertaking was made that if the tariffs were not in line with the National Benchmark, said would be corrected which is the current case we find ourselves. We assertion is made that the tariffs are set by Municipality in a manner that is short of thumb sucking; a difference of 3.52% percent is a huge one. We understand that NERSA set the benchmark and indicated that they would ensure that all Municipalities comply, we however reiterate that the municipality should not increase the electricity tariffs at all, and now substantiated by your assertion that we are in fact being overcharged, that the tariffs be decreased. We believe that you have the power to declare that the tariffs be decreased next financial year by the found 28% and further that no increase take effect on the 1st of July 2017.
In your speech on the 29th March 2017 at the Kimberley city hall you quoted the former president, President Thabo Mbeki “The poor prey on one another because their lives offer no hope and
communicate the tragic message to these human beings that they have
no possibility to attain a decent standard of living”
Your undertaking to make the electricity tariffs more cost reflective and the fact that the Municipality took it upon itself to study the matter, which yielded the proposed 28% electricity tariff decrease, is an indication that you are interested in changing the status quo of the poor. We appeal to you, our councillors and the Municipality as a whole to take decisive steps now to curb the preying on the poor that will be augmented by the 1.88% electricity tariff increase that is proposed to be effected from the 1st of July 2017.
This we write to you on behalf of your people the indigent and the indignant.