The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) together with communities from across Durban picketed outside Eskom’s Westville office on Friday, 28 July, demanding affordable electricity, amongst other things.

Members of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) picketing outside Eskom’s Westville offices

In a statement, Desmond D’Sa, co-ordinator of the SDCEA, said: “The communities are tired of paying high tariffs and yet massive bonuses are been punted for those Eskom elites who are implicated in corrupt relationships.

“The proposed secret nuclear deal that Eskom and the government has signed with Russia, USA and other nuclear countries threatens the future of South Africa as a country as this deal if it goes through has the potential to bankrupt the country and deprive all citizens of our right to other services such as education, health, access to water, sanitation, housing and free energy to the poor.

South Africa’s climate change commitment to the Paris accord is being undermined by continuous development of coal fired power stations all over the country that will increase CO2 emissions rather than reduce and this in turn will exacerbate the climate crisis,” said D’Sa.

He added that since the dawn of democracy in 1994 promises of a better life for the majority of the citizens has not reached the people of South Africa who continue to live in squalor and abject poverty.

“Wherever you go to pay your electricity the queues of pensioners and state grantees waiting to pay the high electricity cost are the ones who are in tears and do not get any sympathy from a state which has grown extremely fat and forgot the poverty around them.

“Municipalities must introduce discounts on electricity rates for pensioners and if they cannot then they should introduce renewable energy and remove people off the grid thereby provide safe and secure energy.

“With our huge potential of sunshine, government  investment in nuclear power must be rescinded and an increase budget provided for a big roll-out of renewable energy built in South Africa and erected at all homes of those who cannot afford it,” said D’Sa.

When The Westville Weekly Gazette contacted Eskom for comment, Eskom said that they were looking into the issues presented by the SDCEA and would release a statement soon.