ESKOM’S executives shouldn’t be paid bonuses for keeping the lights on – it’s their job do so‚ for which they’re already getting big salaries‚ says Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane.

Maimane‚ who was paying a visit to his hometown of Dobsonville‚ Soweto‚ told residents that like them‚ he was angry about electricity too – angry at what they were being charged for electricity because it should not be that much.

He said that for the past seven years Eskom had been raising electricity prices by 22% every year. If this was to connect more people and provide and maintain infrastructure‚ then he wouldn’t be so angry.

“But that’s not all we’re paying for. You see‚ while you and I must pay increase after increase‚ much of that money is going towards the runaway costs of our two big new power stations‚ Medupi and Kusile. Both these stations should have been finished years ago‚ but we are now told we might have to wait up to six more years to see them both completed.

“What started off as R70bn and R80bn power stations have already more than doubled in cost. And that’s what you and I are paying for. We are picking up the bill for the ANC government and Eskom’s failure to manage this project‚” the DA leader asserted.

But that was not all South Africans were paying for. “You and I are also paying the bonuses of Eskom executives. On top of a R23bn bailout to keep Eskom afloat in 2015‚ we the public also had to pay these executives over R18m in bonuses this year.”

The nation told that the executives “deserve” these bonuses because they managed to avoid load shedding for a year now.

“But if that’s the case‚ why have they been paid over R73m in bonuses since load shedding began in 2008?

“And by keeping the lights on‚ they have just done their jobs‚ for which they already receive big salaries. They haven’t gone beyond the call of duty – they simply did what they were employed to do‚” Maimane said.

He charged that the reason there had been no load shedding was not because Eskom executives had done such a great job‚ but rather because the country was using less and less electricity because the economy had ground to a halt.

“Big businesses‚ mines‚ factories‚ smelters have had to scale back‚ or shut down completely. We used less electricity last year than we did back in 2007‚” Maimane asserted.

He added that nine million South Africans were sitting without work because “our government has broken our economy”.

“But now you and I have to pay increased electricity rates so that Eskom executives can earn fat salaries and big bonuses because they say they’ve kept the lights on?”

TMG Digital