‘My pension goes to Eskom’
An 81-year-old man from Wentworth whose electricity bill is more than his monthly pension was among those who demonstrated outside the electricity hike hearings in Durban today.
Johnson Fynn, who lives with his daughter, pays R2 000 in electricity every month. His pension is R1 200.
Supporting himself with a walking stick, he has been demonstrating outside the Durban Convention Centre (ICC) in the boiling heat while the decision makers sit in an air-conditioned venue.
A crowd of about 200, largely made up of the elderly, demonstrated outside the hearings of the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) into Eskom’s proposed tariff hikes.
Said Fynn: “We are hoping that by voicing our frustrations, someone will listen. I have to beg my children for money to live since all my pension goes to Eskom. I live with just my daughter. She is out looking for work during the day. You tell me how I end up with a R2 000 monthly bill?”
He is part of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, a grouping of community forums, ratepayers associations and church organisations based in the south of Durban.
Handing over the memorandum of demands to Eskom and Nersa representatives, group spokesperson Desmond D’Sa said there was something fundamentally wrong with the fact that hearings were held at the ICC and not in the communities where the majority of the people are.
“We have been speaking with Eskom about this for a long time and we are tired of talking.
“They deny us access as if we are aliens. Make sure you convey this message to your managers, who get millions in salaries. If they don’t listen to us, they can expect rolling mass action. We will close down Eskom,” he threatened.
“If a child refuses to listen to a parent, what does the parent do?” he asked the group who responded with a resounding: “You punish them”.
D’Sa later told City Press government needed to expand its solar geyser roll-out plan to every informal settlement, transit camp and flat dweller.
“Durban is hot enough for that. At the moment, it is the rich and profit makers like Eskom who are getting government funding while the poor people suffer. In places where Eskom mines cheap coal, the actual workers are poor and sick and the culture of education is affected, while the fat cats earn millions,” he said.