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DA: Mat Cuthbert, Address by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition,

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DA: Mat Cuthbert, Address by DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition,

3rd March 2022

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Honourable House Chairperson,

The decision by NERSA to hike electricity tariffs by 9.61% coupled with a petrol price increase of R1.46
per litre and Diesel Price increase of R1.48 per litre is a punch to the gut – which South Africans can ill
afford.

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Recently, SALGA as reported in the Citizen newspaper, has said that electricity prices have increased by
an astronomical 307% since 2009.

If the fact that more than one in three South Africans find themselves unemployed wasn’t bad enough –
those who are fortunate enough to have job – have seen their take home pay eroded by 5.8% since
December 2019 – according to BankservAfrica’s Take-home Pay Index.

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According to the latest Household Affordability Index by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice &
Dignity, group (PMBEJD) “year-on-year, basket prices have increased by 8.9%, outstripping headline
inflation. The cost of the average household food basket increased by R354.52 from R4,001.17 in
February 2021 to R4,355.70 in February 2022".

The moral of the story is – each time your raise input costs – businesses pass this cost onto the
consumer and South Africans become poorer.

There is little doubt that a large proportion of the input costs passed onto consumers are as result of the
incessant energy price hikes meted out to them year after year.

Instead of focusing on bringing more generating capacity onto the grid, introducing competition into the
energy market and investing in alternative sources of energy – government has sat on its hands.
All the while both businesses and consumers have been forced to purchase their electricity through the
state-owned monolith, Eskom.

That is of course contingent on its ability to actually deliver on its commitment to supply you with
electricity.

As we know, it has been more of a case of lights out than lights on since 2007.

Despite the limited reprieve offered by government in allowing for 100MW of self-generation during
2021 and the symbolic movement towards splitting up Eskom into three separate entities – energy
reform has never been a priority for this government.

That’s where the DA enters the ring, having recently adopted our revitalised energy policy at a sitting of
our Federal Council this past week.

We can criticise the government until we are blue in the face but if we fail to table alternatives then we
are not serious about the business of government.Some of the key interventions we aim to implement when we form part of the governing coalition are:
 Realising a just energy transition by investing in the reskilling and retraining of workers for the
green economy;
 Incorporating renewable energy into the market at a faster pace by removing restrictive caps on
the uptake of renewable energy;
 Containing energy prices and expanding capacity by removing Eskom from the electricity
generation business and creating a more competitive and diversified energy market;
 Improving energy efficiency by using evidence-based interventions such as time-of-use tariffs,
load shifting, solar geysers and mixed forms of generation;
 Setting a more ambitious emissions reduction target that would more closely align with the
Paris Climate Agreement; and
 Allowing municipalities to generate, consume and sell their own electricity.

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