Congress of the People slams the ANC for its hypocritical opportunism. The march it organised yesterday to Eskom’s offices attracted fewer than a thousand people. It does not surprise us that many of the protesters were not from Soweto. It was a rent-a-crowd.
The ruling party’s propaganda machine, the SABC, gave extensive coverage to the proposed march with a view to mobilising massive support. It did not happen.
The Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee saw the march as mere opportunism from the ANC. The people of Soweto refused to fall for the propaganda.
The ANC cannot divorce itself from the problem of load shedding nor of tariff increases. It is the very mother of these two problems. The issue of affordability challenges will really reach critical mass if NERSA grants Eskom the additional increase it is asking for. Households will not bear such increases. Nersa must investigate the request very thoroughly and weigh all the consequences.
The ruling party is between the figurative devil and the deep sea. On the one hand, Eskom is in dire trouble. On the other hand, most people and poor people in particular have no room whatsoever to manoeuvre. Their budgets are so tight. The crisis has arisen entirely from the ruling party’s failed policies and poor governance. It is Soweto now and soon other townships will follow suit.
The government has brought hardships on the people. It must now expect a severe backlash.
COPE urges the ruling party to sell off half of Eskom in order to reduce its debt. It also requests the government to provide solar lighting solutions as is happening all over Africa. Technology is readily available to let the sun light our homes at a fixed and highly affordable cost. Residents can pay off the one time installation costs over 60 months in small instalments. This is an instant solution.
The Minister of Energy has asked us to brace ourselves for load shedding for 3-5 years. We ask the government to offer solar solutions to keep the lights burning all over South Africa at a fixed price. That is what the people are demanding and that is what the government must offer.
Issued by Dennis Bloem on behalf of COPE, Dennis Bloem is Cope Spokesperson