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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mafia blackmail tactics! ... from the government

Blackmail! Something usually used by criminal groups such as the Mafia!

Dictionary.com defines it this way:

black·mail [blak-meyl]
1. any payment extorted by intimidation, as by threats of injurious revelations or accusations.
2. the extortion of such payment: He confessed rather than suffer the dishonor of blackmail.
3. a tribute formerly exacted in the north of England and in Scotland by freebooting chiefs for protection from pillage.

–verb (used with object)
4. to extort money from (a person) by the use of threats.
5. to force or coerce into a particular action, statement, etc.: The strikers claimed they were blackmailed into signing the new contract.

As I have written in my previous post, ESKOM: The Illusion of Power, due to complete mismanagement and incompetence on the part of ESKOM (South Africa's ONLY electricity provider) and of the government, ESKOM had to approach NERSA (National Energy Regulator of South Africa) for a price hike of 53% instead of the 14% hike that was awarded to it.

Remember this face! Public Enterprises Minister, Alec ErwinRight on the heels of that shocker, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin, said that if South Africans do not want to accept the 53% price hike this year, the South African public will have to take a 100% price increase in 2009! If that isn't blackmail, then I do not know what is! He is clearly giving us an ultimatum via a threat. He is clearly trying to coerce South Africans to roll over on the electricity price hike!

When the government, and its parastatals, treat its people in this way, it has become clear that they have overstayed their welcome. This saga will go down in infamy and names such as Alec Erwin's will forever be connected to it.

He further tries to bully us into accepting this price hike since it is so important for South Africa's hosting of the World Cup soccer tournament in 2010. This seems like emotional blackmail. It is sick! He knows that soccer in South Africa is big (even though our soccer team does not reflect that). In South Africa, soccer seems to be more about emotions than actual skill at times. Alec Erwin is clearly playing on this.

Further, ESKOM claims in its submission to NERSA for the 53% price increase, that these increases are necessary due to high increases in the cost of coal. I understand that if coal costs more for ESKOM to buy, then sometime or other they would have to pass those increases onto the public. However, it strikes me as truly odd that they are suddenly asking for all these price increases right after the load shedding started. Blaming coal prices is a ruse to hide their own incompetence in running the electricity provider.

Ten years ago, the management of ESKOM at the time warned the government that by 2007 South Africa would start running out of electricity if something was not done to remedy the problem. After all that time, they had done nothing to solve the crisis, and now the consumer has to pay up for their mismanagement and incompetence in running the energy supplier.

But, then again, this country has been run on injustice and subterfuge all along.

The injustice in this regard is that they want us to pay for their gross misconduct in running the energy problem in this country, and the subterfuge is that they are trying to hide the real reasons for the price increases behind so-called coal increases.

Our energy supply needs to be diversified urgently. One supplier for the country obviously is not the solution, and the consumer must be given a choice as to which supplier he wants to use.

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