Jeffreys Bay accommodation establishments and residents alike were hit hard last year with massive increases in the price of electicity. One of the biggest costs of doing business for the accommodation industry these days is their monthly water and lights bill.

Jeffreys Bay residents can brace themselves for a 26 % increase in the price of electricity from April.

Yet, Eskom has spent millions of rands on six staff parties since November last year.

Eskom is currently being probed by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for claims of corruption, fraud and maladministration.

The managers responsible for approving this wasteful expenditure have to be taken to task. It is unacceptable that Eskom spends millions on staff functions, while consumers are forced to pay more and more each year for electricity.

On 1 April, all South Africans will be hit with a 25.9% increase in the cost of electricity. This will hit all South Africans hard. Impoverished South Africans will be forced to spend disproportionate amounts of their income on electricity, while the tourism industry, who are creating the jobs in South Africa will become less competitive.

The latest Eskom staff party reportedly cost R3 million. Eskom confirmed that it was anticipated that roughly 4 000 people would participate in this event, with many of them transported from as far away as Oudtshoorn and George and accommodated in Cape Town at Eskom’s expense.

Eskom’s executives cannot expect South Africans to make sacrifices to save on our electricity consumption, and at the same time organise parties costing millions of rands at the public’s expense. It points to total disrespect for the South African public.

It seems that even after the disastrous blackouts of 2007/2008, the massive escalations in electricity prices of the past years and the request that South Africans consume 10 % less electricity, Eskom still hasn’t learned how to lead by example.

The SIU needs to investigate these staff parties and hold those responsible to account.

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