Two years ago, Kimberley was under siege for weeks as residents protested over a proposed electricity tariff the municipality wanted to implement.
Residents say the electricity tariff in Kimberley is one of the highest in the country and De Ruyter’s revelation that Sol Plaatje added an 84% mark-up was their confirmation.
For 59-year-old Christine Joseph it is a struggle to keep the lights on every month. Her pension barely covers the cost of living for her brother and grandchild.
Joseph and her neighbours also say negotiations following the 2018 Kimberley shutdown did not bring the relief they were expecting. They’ve vowed to escalate their actions.
Community leader, Tumelo Mosekari says they will go back to the streets should negotiations fail and the chairperson of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce’s Hendrik Wessel says they will talk the municipality and if that fails, they will go to court to make sure the municipality charges less.
Wessel says high electricity prices have a knock-on effect on business with some struggling to survive, while others choose to invest elsewhere.
The Sol Plaatje Municipality has denied the pricey mark-up, saying it will seek clarity from Nersa and Eskom. Sol Plaatje Municipal mayor Patrick Mabilo says the mark-up is around 26% and they can’t afford another shutdown of the city.
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