/ 15 April 2008

ANC to meet ministers over electricity price hike

The African National Congress (ANC) will meet the ministers responsible for proposed hikes in electricity tariffs in order to discuss the energy situation in the country, the party said on Tuesday.

ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte said the ANC national working committee had expressed concern over the proposed tariff hikes at its fortnightly meeting on Monday.

She said the ANC is scheduled to have a detailed discussion with the responsible ministers about the proposed increases this coming Monday.

Party spokesperson Tiyani Rikhotso said Monday’s meeting will probably include Minister of Public Enterprises Alec Erwin and/or Minister of Minerals and Energy Buyelwa Sonjica.

Department of Minerals and Energy spokesperson Bheki Khumalo said the minister welcomes any engagement with the ANC and will attend the April 21 meeting.

The minister has been meeting various interest groups about the power crisis, including trade unions, who have all raised the issue of the proposed tariff hike. She is looking forward to the meeting, Khumalo said.

Rikhotso said the ANC remains opposed to the proposed tariff hike because the poor will be the hardest hit by it.

He said other aspects of how to engage with the energy situation facing the country might also be discussed at the meeting.

”We are the ruling party. [We must] not only come up with challenges, but also point to possible solutions,” he said.

Khumalo said that whatever the outcome of the meetings, the minister is determined to ensure that the poor and downtrodden as well as small businesses are protected. — Sapa