PACSA eNewsletter: No.06 2015

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Dear Friends

Greetings from PACSA

In the previous newsletter we informed you of the popular mobilisation that was afoot to protest a further 12% increase in electricity tariffs by ESKOM, the electricity utility. On 29 June, the National Energy Regulator of SA, the body that reviews these applications, announced that they rejected ESKOM’s application for further tariff increases. This rejection of ESKOM’s application is a victory for all those who rallied behind the call to protest this application because electricity tariffs have already breached affordability thresholds. Read more about the coalition who led this protest movement in Pietermaritzburg in the newsletter.

We also offer you insights of some of our other work over the past month. This includes our 36th Annual General Meeting; making a submission to the commission which is investigating the causes of the xenophobic violence in our province and how to integrate victims into communities; our May 2015 PACSA Monthly Food Price Barometer; and other news and media articles in which PACSA’s position on socio-economic realities are reflected.
We hope that you find the articles interesting and useful to you and that you will engage with us, if you wish, on issues covered below.


Mervyn Abrahams
PACSA Director
PACSA enewsletter news

Invitation to the round table discussion on National Minimum Wage for South Africa

PACSA roundtable discussion on a minimum wage for South Africa copy1
Tuesday, 14 July 2015
at 10:00–13:00
Imperial Hotel, 224 Jabu Ndlovu Street (Parking available on the Burger Street entrance)

PACSA’s 36th Annual General Meeting

REV Russell Pollitt addresses the Annual General Meeting
PACSA had its 36th Annual General Meeting on 13 June 2015 at the Msunduzi Museum. The AGM was attended by 45 people amongst whom were a number of PACSA members including a few founding members. After the business part of the meeting Rev Russell Pollitt, Director of the Jesuit Institute in Johannesburg, addressed the meeting on the topic, ‘Faith, Justice and Social Action in South Africa Today.’

Victory for those who protested the Eskom application for a 25.3% electricity tariff increase

The Pietermaritzburg march to protest a further 253 increase in electricity tarriffs
The National Energy Regulators’ rejection of ESKOM’s application for a further tariff increase this year has averted a pending crisis facing South African consumers and our economy. This rejection is a victory for all those who mobilised in the call to protest this application because electricity tariffs have already breached affordability thresholds.
In Pietermaritzburg the mobilisation was led by the ‘Stop Eskom’s 25% Increase Coalition’, a coalition of 19 organisations, which included citizens, civic organisations, CBOs, religious groups, small businesses, unions, student movements, NGOs, social justice and political groups.

Commission investigates causes of the xenophobic violence and reintegration of victims into their communities

On the 23rd of June 2015, PACSA joined a number of faith-based organizations in a reflection on the recent spate of xenophobic violence in KwaZulu-Natal. The conversation, hosted by the Special Reference Group on Migration and Community Integration in KwaZulu-Natal under leadership of Judge Navi Pillay, previous United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, focussed on the causes of the violence and how victims could be reintegrated into the communities from which they fled.

PACSA Photograph Exhibition ‘People Live Here’ to launch in Germany

PACSA Photograph Exhibition People Live Here to launch in Germany
The PACSA photograph exhibition, ‘People Live Here’, which formed part of the 2014 PACSA Film and Arts Festival, will be launched in Frankfurt, on Friday, 17 July 2015, under the title, ‘So leben wir – Alltag in KwaZulu-Natal’. After this launch the exhibition will travel to various venues throughout Germany. The exhibition, compiled by the well-known photographer Cedric Nunn, contains 31 photographs which explores life in South Africa, twenty-years after the momentous events of 1994 that led to the election of Nelson Mandela as president and the formation of a democratic South Africa. The German exhibition was made possible through the supported of Bread for the World, a PACSA donor partner, and KASA, a solidarity partner.

Workshop on Socio-Economic Justice for Church leaders

 Workshop with church leaders from the Midlands Council of Churches
The Midlands Council of Churches requested PACSA to provide a three-day workshop on economic justice for 15 church leaders from the wider Pietermaritzburg area. The workshop was designed to foreground the idea that economics justice is about ensuring that resources are so allocated that each person has access to what they need to live a dignified life.
PACSA enewsletter foodpricebarometer

PACSA Food Price Barometer May 2015

Food price inflation for working class households up 6.5% since January 2015

The May 2015 PACSA Monthly Food Price Barometer headlines Food price inflation for working class households up 6.5% since January 2015. The May 2015 statement provides a snapshot of the trends in food price inflation since January 2015. Over the last five months, the cost of the total PACSA food basket increased by 6.5% or R101.95 from R1568.25 in January 2015 to R1670.20 in May 2015. The core drivers of inflation on the PACSA food basket were the starches (increased by 7.8%), animal proteins (increased by 7.1%), vegetables (increased by 11%) and sugar (increased by 8.7%). All four of these groups increased by levels significantly higher than CPI headline inflation – which averaged 4.3% over the last five months; as well as above the CPI indicator for food and non-alcoholic beverages, which averaged 5.7% over the last five months.

See the attach statements here.

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PACSA enewsletter inthemedia

25,3% electricity hike may be delayed — NERSA

The National Energy Regulator (Nersa) says the proposed 25,3% electricity hike planned for this year may be delayed until the 2016/2017 financial year following discussions with Eskom this week. In light of a circular by National Treasury to municipalities, Eskom may withdraw its application for the electricity price increase.

Read the full article here published in the fin24 on 10 Jun3 2015.

Mass protest in City

FED-UP residents will have an ­opportunity tomorrow to express their outrage over Eskom’s proposed huge electricity hike. Preparations for a massive march in the city protesting Eskom’s proposed 25,3% electricity increase is well ­under way. Citizens, civics, religious groups, small businesses, unions, student movements, NGOs and social justice and political groups have formed a coalition to protest the hike.
Read the full article here published in News24 on the 22 June 2015.

PMB residents march over Eskom’s 25.3% hike

Pietermaritzburg residents are refusing to take Eskom’s proposed 25.3 percent power hike lying down. A coalition has been formed and thousands were expected to take to the streets of the provincial capital today, in a march to pressure the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to reject Eskom’s application for an increase. The march, from Dales Park to the city hall, was initiated by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa).

Read the full article here published in the Daily News on 23 June 2015.

PMB unites against hike

“ESKOM is killing us and we cannot afford to pay any more for power.” That was the message Pietermaritzburg ­citizens projected in a demonstration against ­Eskom’s proposed increase in the city centre yesterday. The Msunduzi Economic Development Agency (Meda) arrived at the electricity hike protest march with a coffin and a hangman dummy. A convoy of about 15 vehicles arrived outside the city hall decorated with bright banners calling for the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) to reject Eskom’s proposal.

Read the full article here published in the Witness on 24 June 2015.

March against Eskom's tariff increase in PMB

Hundreds of marchers have taken to the streets of Pietermaritzburg to demonstrate their opposition to a 25.3% increase in tariffs that Eskom is requesting from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa. The march which started at Dales Park and ended at City Hall where a memorandum was handed to representatives from Eskom and Msunduzi Municipality. Julie Smith who is a member of the action group - "Stop Eskom's 25% Increase Coalition" spoke to News watch during the march.
Read the full article here published in the East Coast Radio website on 23 June 2015.

NERSA lauded for averting a ‘pending crisis’ for SA

OCAL organisations have praised the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) for rejecting Eskom’s proposed 25,3% energy hike, saying they have averted a “pending crisis” for South African households, businesses and the economy. Director of the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) Mervyn Abrahams said he was pleasantly surprised by Nersa’s decision to reject the tariff hike.

Read the full article here published in fin24 on 30 June 2015.
PACSA enewsletter feature article

On the State of Democracy in South Africa

Steven Friedman - South African democracy spans two very different worlds. In one, people complain loudly but enjoy full democratic rights - in the other, most remain unheard and battle for the right to speak. In both, life is difficult for those who do not conform. Democracy is not yet able to change the social power inherited from the past, which limits its reach in both suburbs and townships. In the townships, the ANC - despite the challenge of rival parties - continues to dominate elections. Ironically, in the suburbs, where no-one forces anyone to obey, the dominance of one party and one view of the world is far tighter than in townships.   Read more here.
PACSA enewsletter writetous 
170 Hoosen Haffejee Street, 
Pietermaritzburg, 3201
P O Box 2338, Pietermaritzburg,
3200, South Africa