The average four-person South African household should pay R290 a month for electricity, yet Eskom is charging them roughly R1,200, says a lobby group.
Now Eskom is seeking a 20% tariff increase from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa).
Energy analysts have described Nersa, which starts its public hearings into the proposed tariff increase in Pretoria today, as the only thing preventing disaster.
Presentations by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse to parliament’s public enterprises portfolio committee this week reveal the power utility should be relying on its capital expenditure budget and the government and not on ordinary South Africans to float it.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba this month said the government was considering granting Eskom a favourable loan or possible bailout.
StatsSA yesterday released its findings of Capital Expenditure by the Public Sector 2016 report, which showed that capital expenditure by public sector institutions rose to R284-billion from R265-billion.
The report shows that capital expenditure by state institutions has increased by R1.2-trillion over the past five years. Eskom accounted for R73-billion, with the new Medupi, Kusile and Ingula power stations accounting for R70-billion.
Outa’s energy specialist Ted Blom said they revealed to parliament Eskom had a qualified audit of R3-billion in irregular expenditure without supporting documents.
“Explanations are needed as to how the R3-billion was processed without the documentation. Either there is a magic password which allowed this or there is an old chequebook lying around. Either way Eskom’s chief financial officer, Anoj Singh, must explain.”
Blom described the electricity tariffs the average four-person household was paying as “daylight robbery. There are three cost drivers to the power utility. They include the financing costs of money borrowed, their power plants and the operations.”
Only Eskom’s operations were subject to inflation, so increases should be a third of inflation, as two-thirds of costs were fixed.
He said on the assumption Eskom was efficient in 2005, and the cost of electricity for a four-person home was R160, the cost now for electricity, based on an annual escalation of a third of CPI, would be R290.
Blom said compounding Eskom’s financial problems was the building of Medupi and Kusile power stations.
Blom said Eskom recently announced that they need to borrow R325-billion over the next five years to finish off the two stations, 10 times higher than initial estimates.
He said Nersa should, and could, dramatically reduce the electricity tariff.
Nersa spokesman Charles Hlebela would only say that Eskom’s application would be considered in terms of the law.
Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said they would respond to allegations in parliament and not through the media.
By Graeme Hosken for TimesLive
Herman Mashaba, mayor of Johannesburg, recently revealed his plans to alleviate the city’s pothole problem by awarding R88-million to address the pothole repair backlog across the city.
The Johannesburg Road Agency has launched a new mobile app called JRA Find & Fix, to allow citizens to report road related defects like potholes, missing manhole covers, defective traffic signals etc.
This is according to Christelle Colman, Chief executive officer of Europ Assistance South Africa, who says that potholes cause major frustration among motorists as they can cause severe damage to a vehicle such as tyre punctures, rim impairments or damaged wheel alignment or suspension.
Colman said: “In extreme cases, vehicles can be written off and the occupants can be badly injured. By having roadside assistance service in place the motorists will at least have peace of mind that help is on its way should their vehicle not be driveable after hitting a pothole.”
R1.38-billion a year needed
She says that it is however worrying that the Johannesburg Roads Agency recently announced that it will need R1.38-billion per year for the next decade to be able to repair all the roads in the province. Due to the lack of maintenance 48% of the roads in the area are classified as being in poor or very poor condition.
Colman said: “There is generally no warning signs of potholes ahead and drivers often see the potential danger of a pothole when it is too late to swerve out of harm’s way, or another vehicle may approach from the front making it impossible for the driver to miss the pothole.”
In the event of hitting a pothole that causes damage to the vehicle, she urges motorists to contact their emergency roadside assistance provider immediately. She explains that this service can prove to be extremely beneficial to the motorist, especially when considering personal safety.
Colman said: “Should a motorist be travelling at night it is increasingly difficult to spot and avoid potholes and if they are stranded late at night in a deserted or dangerous area, this service can prove to be the difference between life and death.
The roads in the deserted areas are generally in a worse condition compared to the highways, therefore the driver faces a bigger risk of hitting a pothole in those areas leaving them stranded in a dangerous area. It is also important that drivers have their dedicated emergency number saved on their phone, as many insurers insist that the policyholder only deal the specified emergency assistance provider in order for the policy benefit to pay out.”
Another reason why potholes are such a frustration for motorists is because the general motor insurance policy does not cover pothole damage to one’s tyres – the motorist will need a separate tyre insurance cover in order to claim for this damage.
“Insurance policies will only pay a claim if hitting a pothole led to a bigger accident that caused damage to the vehicle, but will not pay for damage caused only to the tyres. Motorists therefore have to pay for new tyres out of their own pocket and this can become a costly affair if all four tyres have to be replaced on a regular basis,” she explains.
Colman urges all motorists to find out whether or not they have emergency road side assistance services readily available to them through existing service providers, as most insurers or banks offer these services to their clients.
“It is also important ascertain exactly what service they have and what it offers.
“Being stuck next to the road after hitting a pothole can become a very traumatic experience, but by having an emergency roadside assistance provider on speed-dial – this trauma and stress can be reduced significantly.
This initiative is however a great first stride in making the country’s roads safer for all road users, with the aim of reducing the number of accidents and consequently also fatalities,” concludes Colman.
The cybercrimes industry is expected cost business up to $6-trillion (R78-trillion) by 2021.
The statistic was mentioned by Paolo Passeri, Cisco’s consulting systems engineer for cloud security, at the Cisco Connect South Africa conference currently being held in Sun City.
Despite efforts by businesses to go green, busy offices still generate a lot of paperwork. What many high-functioning businesses don’t know is that reams of paper actually reduce business efficiency and increase costs. As businesses are thrust into the digital space, analysts predict the arrival of the paperless office – yet more and more paper is produced every year.
Working intelligently with documents is a critical factor in reducing paper waste. It’s much more than well-organised storage and quick searches – it’s about creating secure and efficient processes. So what are the benefits of digital documents? Here’s how businesses can digitise and reduce paper to run more efficiently:
Let go of old-school
Paper storage isn’t secure or safe. Documents are susceptible to theft and vulnerable to external damage, such as fire and water. It’s also difficult to track physical documents as retrieving them takes time. The sharing and distribution of hard copies is highly impractical as information is limited to the confines of the document.
Digital documents are easier to store and send, easily searchable and more versatile than paper. Paperwork on desks and shelves isn’t just untidy, it’s inefficient too.
The beauty of digital storage is an entire company’s documents can be stored on a single server instead of endless rooms of shelving. If there’s a fire or flood, recovery from digital backup is effortless. Digital filing also means costs saved on printing and postage. A paperless office allows for easier expansion, as moving is seamless and efficient.
The paperless solution
Nashua’s Docuware and NashuaDocs help organisations gain control over their information and data. Managed Document Services (MDS) digitise crucial documents and help automate internal business processes. This is a customisable solution designed for fast document storage, retrieval, enhanced efficiency and optimised business processes.
This software reduces the time spent searching for, printing, copying and labelling documents by simplifying document-related tasks in the office. Both Nashua solutions are tailor-made for current and future business requirements. They allow for seamless workflow and boosted productivity.
Going paperless doesn’t happen overnight. Businesses can strategise to reduce paper, together with a Nashua consultant. Cutting paper use also gives modern businesses flexibility to operate from anywhere, and faster access to information needed. Piles of paperwork belong in the past. The future is digital.
The value of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is widely recognised in terms of the contribution this sector makes to the economy and job creation.