The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) will stage the first of a series of protests against rising food prices in a march through Polokwane in Limpopo on Sunday, spokesperson Patrick Craven said on Friday. Besides drawing attention to rising food prices, the protesters will also complain about the electricity crisis.
The African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday called on the Competition Commission to intensify its investigations into the causes of high food prices. A spokesperson said all stakeholders in food prices should convene an urgent meeting to discuss ways of minimising the effect of high food prices on the poor.
Eskom was to ask the National Energy Regulator of South Africa to withhold sections of its tariff-increase application from the public at a meeting on Monday on the grounds that the information was ”business sensitive”, the regulator said. Eskom, which was granted a 14,2% increase at the end of last year, is now seeking a 53% hike.
The National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) on Friday called for Eskom’s proposed electricity tariff increase to be put on hold for further consultation. The process should be delayed to allow for urgent consultation on possible alternatives and the socio-economic impact of the increase, Nedlac said.
The South African Communist Party (SACP) on Friday threatened to "take to the streets" in protest against South African power utility Eskom’s proposed electricity hikes. "We will announce in due course a rolling mass-action programme to stop this neo-liberal attack on the quality of life of South Africans," the SACP said in a statement.
Unions have called on the government to place a moratorium on electricity tariff hikes or face protest action, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Wednesday. Eskom has requested a 53% price increase from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa.
Industrial users of electricity feel that they are bearing the brunt of electricity rationing, while more needs to be done to involve other sectors of society, an energy working group said in Cape Town on Friday. ”Busa [Business Unity South Africa] said that businesses are bearing the brunt of this and need the rest of the economy to come in,” Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said.
The 2008 national budget took a "business as usual" approach in failing to carry through President Thabo Mbeki’s commitment to change all South Africans’ lives for the better, the People’s Budget Coalition said on Thursday, adding that the government will not be doing anything fundamentally different from what it has done in the past.
South Africans can expect current load-shedding by Eskom to continue, if not worsen, for at least the next four weeks. Eskom, which met major industrial customers and the six metro mayors on Tuesday, proposed a three-phase recovery period that would include load-shedding, at least in the initial phase.
Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi met municipal labour unions in Pretoria on Monday to discuss the government’s initiative for a single public service, the ministry said. The initiative seeks to create one public-service administration for all three tiers of government.