The civil rights organisation AfriForum today submitted two petitions – on Eskom and the fuel levy, respectively – to parliament.
Morné Mostert, Head of Local Government Affairs, says that Eskom and the electricity sector must receive attention at the highest level. “The power giant was subject to various corruption scandals and Treasury also published reports on Eskom’s various violations of the Public Finance Management Act 1 of 1999. The mismanagement of new power stations and disastrous coal contract management subjected South Africa to serious load shedding. Eskom’s debt amounts to almost R420 billion.
“It is already clear that Eskom, a structure with a monopoly on power generation, does not function properly to ensure dependable power provision. Enough is enough. We need a parliamentary debate on how Eskom can be decentralised and how to find solution to unbundle Eskom. We also request parliament to recommend a commission of inquiry into Eskom’s business,” Mostert says.
Dr Eugene Brink, Strategic Advisor at AfriForum, says that, although December has witnessed a significant decrease in the fuel price, South Africans are still paying too much. “It remains above R15 per litre at the end of 2018, while it was R13,54 in March this year, and R12,61 in 2015. Not only do we pay more at the pumps, but it also impacts inflation, so that goods like food are getting more expensive at a quicker rate. The latest decrease was preceded by massive increases and will most probably be made undone by new increases in the new year,” Brink says.
According to him, the petrol levy should also be reconsidered. “National and provincial state governments, as well as most state-controlled businesses, in 2017/2018 incurred at least R51 billion in irregular spending. The Road Accident Fund (RAF), who receives about R2 from the price of every litre of fuel and has an annual budget of about R37 billion, was in the news this year because they spent R1 666 per chair per month in terms of a dubious office furniture contract.
“If this type of squandering and talks on for example expropriation without compensation can be eliminated, the RAF’s functions and other expenses covered by the general fuel levy could be paid. We also request a parliamentary debate on the decrease of the respective fuel levies within the context of this squandering and overall economic policy, because consumers can simply no longer absorb further pressure,” Brink concludes.
The two petitions were also sent to the Department of Energy today.