eskom reactor sale private

Image via: Gerhard Roux via Wikimedia Commons

DA claim Eskom managers’ demands could cost taxpayers R300 million

Senior managers at Eskom have threatened strike action and load shedding if their salary increase demands are not met by the utility.

eskom reactor sale private

Image via: Gerhard Roux via Wikimedia Commons

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has reacted with concern to the recent demands for a salary increase by managers at struggling state-owned power utility Eskom.

The official opposition has called on all parties to resolve the matter in a responsible manner that does not plunge the country, the economy, and Eskom into further strife.

Threats of strikes and load shedding

The DA’s reaction stems from the news over the weekend that managers at Eskom were planning strike action that could lead to load shedding unless they were given a salary increase of around 4.7%.

The group of between 180 and 200 managers is reportedly considering taking the matter to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) after not receiving bonuses and salary increases in 2018.

“Should this salary hike be granted, it could cost the power utility – which is already in its worst ever financial state – up to R300 million,” DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises Natasha Mazzone said in a press release.

Record losses at Eskom

This all comes in the wake of Eskom announcing a record R20.7 billion loss for the 2018/19 financial year, more than 10 times the amount lost in the previous financial year.

According to the DA, Eskom’s senior managers earn between R1.5 million and R3 million per year, so they are unlikely to find much support from the general South African public on this issue.

“Senior management should be an example when it comes to austerity measures by reviewing salaries instead of holding the country and the economy to ransom because they have not been given a salary increase,” Mazzone said.

“Eskom’s financial trajectory is not sustainable. South Africa cannot afford a recurrence of load shedding, as we stare down the slow collapse of the entity. This will have irreparable consequences for our already ailing economy and ordinary citizens.”

The rich should forgo salary increases

The demands come just days after University of Witwatersrand vice-chancellor Adam Habib called on senior management and officials in both the private and public sector to forgo salary increases for at least the next five years.

“If we are going to ask our unions to be serious about measured salary increases, we must start demanding the same of the CEOs and the rich,” he said.

“The cabinet needs to not take salary increases for the next five years. And the CEOs of the top 200 companies should not take a salary increase for the next five years. And frankly, the same should apply for vice-chancellors like me.”