The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) welcomes Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel's strong pronouncements that the proposed massive electricity hikes are unacceptable.
We welcome Minister Manuel's firm stance on this ridiculous request by Eskom given his proximity to political power and position he occupies in the Executive.
He told a media briefing: "We have to guard against rapid increases in administered prices…of which energy is one".
Numsa, Cosatu and other manufacturing unions have argued strongly that these electricity tariffs will plunge our economy into a deeper crisis, and will result in massive job losses in the manufacturing sectors, escalate food prices and transport costs, amidst the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality faced by our country.
Furthermore, these electricity tariffs will impose a heavy burden on households' and consumers, particularly the poor and working class communities given their scandalous socio-economic conditions and standard of living.
We strongly believe that we are in this conundrum because of the wrong economic choices deeply embedded in the neo-liberal economic policy framework – GEAR – as was imposed and religiously pursued by the previous administration under the stewardship of former President Thabo Mbeki.
As Metalworkers, we are calling for the nationalization of coal as a strategic mineral resource, and which continues to be a key source of our energy.
We reiterate our position that Nersa must grant Eskom a single digit inflation-related increase for a period of three (3) years.