Eskom hikes just too shocking for the tender ears of MPs … or is it the public?

By Branko Brkic 8 October 2009

Eskom was, as usual, at the centre of a row in parliament yesterday, but this time it was unusually not the actual focus of the issue. Chairwoman of the public enterprises committee Vytjie Mentoor instructed Eskom CE Jacob Maroga and National Energy Regulator CE Smunda Mokena not to provide the committee with the actual figures involved in Eskom’s rate hikes. Her justification was that this disclosure would cause “public consternation” and that figures had been “distorted” at previous meetings. It fell to IFP MP Mario Ambrosini to point out the absurdity of the situation. Municipalities would be presented with the figures for comment, but parliamentarians, the national representatives of the voting public, would not. The irony is that we know in broad terms what Eskom wants any way. It has previously been reported to want hikes of between 30% and 60% a year for the next five years. A 31% increase granted last year kicked in three months ago.