In the light of the worsening electricity crisis, and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (NERSA) decision to grant Eskom unaffordable tariff increases of 18.65% for the 2023/24 financial year and a further 12.74% for the 2024/25 financial year, I have instructed our lawyers to apply to the High Court of South Africa for an interdict to stop the implementation of this tariff increase.
South Africans, who have already had to spend a third of 2022 in darkness and are burdened with indefinite Stage 6 load-shedding, are now expected to also pay for the looting and mismanagement of Eskom through exorbitant tariff increases.
Keep in mind that electricity tariffs have already increased by more than 650% since this crisis started in 2007, which is quadruple the inflation rate over the same period.
The DA rejects this tariff increase by NERSA, we reject Stage 6 load-shedding, and we reject government’s poor response – or rather, lack of response – to the biggest crisis our country has faced in the history of our democracy.
We have therefore instructed our lawyers to apply to the High Court of South Africa for the interdict against the implementation of the increase, pending the following relief:
• To have NERSA’s decision of 12 January 2023 declared inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, to have it declared invalid, and to have it set aside.
• To have the ongoing and repeated decisions to implement loadshedding declared inconsistent with the Constitution and therefore invalid, and to have these decisions set aside.
• To have government’s response to the ongoing energy crisis declared inconsistent with the Consitution and invalid.
• To have government’s response to the crisis declared as having failed to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights in the Bill of Rights, thereby limiting the right to human dignity, the right to life, the right to an environment that is not harmful to health and well-being, the right of access to healthcare services, the right to access sufficient water, the right to basic education, and the right to access courts.
As part of this application, we will also ask that the court direct government to file, within 30 days, a comprehensive plan, including short-term, medium-term and long-term steps, to avert the energy crisis.
It has become clear that government will not act in the interests of the citizens of this country, including protecting them from blackouts and unaffordable electricity tariffs, unless compelled by a court of law to do so.
It is the DA’s sworn duty as official opposition to hold government to account and to ensure that they act in the interests of the people of South Africa. If that means taking them to court to force their hand, then that is precisely what we will do.
In addition to this, we will be mobilising South Africans in the fight against load-shedding and the origin of this crisis when we march to Luthuli House on Wednesday the 25th of January.
This Power To The People march is directed at the party whose corrupt policy of cadre deployment and corrupt tender manipulations have been directly responsible for the crisis we now find ourselves in.
We ask that everyone in the Gauteng area join us on the day, and that people elsewhere follow our social media pages and those of their local DA structures for details of similar protests in their towns and cities. This is how we take our power back.