The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has thrown its support behind President Cyril Ramaphosa to halt the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's Eskom tariff hike decision.
This comes after the party apparently received a comprehensive presentation from him on government’s interventions to stop loadshedding, in what ANC KZN provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo called “frank, robust and no-holds-barred discussions”.
Ramaphosa said he had asked Eskom not to impose the tariff hike that is set to take place on April 1.
Addressing the media on Tuesday following a Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting, Mtolo applauded Ramaphosa for “being honest when it comes to the time it would take to fix the country’s energy crisis”.
The country was dealing with ongoing power cuts which Mtolo said were resulting in negative economic conditions that were imposing hardships on millions of people in the province.
Mtolo said the engagements held with Ramaphosa were indicative of the party’s quest to finding long-lasting solutions to loadshedding, the collapse of water infrastructure and the high rate of unemployment.
“As the PEC we have resolved to ensure that the people of this province see visible action that takes us beyond these challenges. It will be an indictment on all of us as the PEC and the NEC if we fail to act against the reversal of the gains we have made since attaining democracy in 1994. We must hasten to point out that the participation of the president in the PEC was aimed at inculcating the culture of accountability by leaders elected by the structures. We want to entrench this culture in the regions and branches,” said Mtolo.
He added that the ANC in KZN put the blame for the energy crisis on outgoing Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter and COO Jan Oberholzer for failing to ensure that Eskom's energy availability factor across all power stations was maintained.
Mtolo painted De Ruyter as an “incompetent leader” who had been constantly encouraging the Western Cape government to cut ties with Eskom.
WATER MANAGEMENT CRISIS
The KZN PEC said it acknowledged that access to water was a basic human right and that it was alive to the fact that whenever the ANC government was condemned, it was on the basis of the non-availability of water.
Mtolo revealed that the PEC had resolved to support Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu’s efforts to radically champion the delivery of water services in a manner that ensured ownership by the community through water associations.
On the Makhathini Lower Phongolo Water User Association, which consisted of various stakeholders, including civil society and the business sector, Mtolo said the ANC would ensure that all water users in the uMkhanyakude and Zululand District catchment areas were part of decision-making processes regarding water management.
“It is through the ANC that the community of uMkhanyakude and Zululand districts will be actively involved in the management and operations of water infrastructure - including a 350 km pipeline network in their districts. We must hasten to point out that the formation of the Water User Association comes hot on the heels of great progress towards the awarding of a water abstraction licence to the uMkhanyakude municipality by the Department of Water and Sanitation,” stressed Mtolo.