LPM criticises Govt over power hikes

Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi has accused the government of prioritising profits through unaffordable electricity.

He was speaking at a press conference in Windhoek on Wednesday.

“With exorbitant profit margins at the expense of a struggling public whose water and electricity bills are out of control and unaffordable, whose livelihoods have gone down dramatically, where poverty has become a fashion statement as part of the achievement of the Swapo party government, where hunger is the new order of the day, which is celebrated by the government,” he said.

Swartbooi said despite the vast potential for solar energy, there is a lack of urgency in harnessing this cheaper and much more sustainable energy source.

He said the government’s actions have led to a dramatic decline in livelihoods, with poverty and hunger becoming a widespread issue every day.

“The recent 7% increase in electricity rates has only exacerbated the situation, leading to accusations of irresponsibility and recklessness,” he said.

According to Swartbooi, the government’s recent decision to subsidise electricity costs with N$365 million is a two-year election gimmick.

The Electricity Control Board has recently announced that the government has resolved to make approximately N$365 million available to subsidise electricity consumers for the 2024/25 financial year from 1 July to 30 June 2025.

“They will probably keep it up until next year, and after the next elections that subsidy will be withdrawn. We are informing the Namibian people that they must be careful not to be fooled by Swapo standing in now through its government,” he said.

Swartbooi said taxes would return to normal levels after the election.

“They advocate for empowering local authorities to manage their own energy resources through power purchase agreements, which could reduce reliance on NamPower and potentially lower electricity costs for businesses and consumers alike,” he said.

Furthermore, Swartbooi said the revenue generated from these high tariffs raises questions about transparency and accountability.

“Where does the revenue generated from these high tariffs go? How much does energy actually cost the government?”

He said the government’s approach seems more focused on generating revenue than providing its citizens affordable energy.

“Are there no other means of sourcing electricity besides relying on imports from South Africa? Why are we not exploring and investing in other local and renewable energy sources?” he asked.

The party is calling on investment in renewable energy by accelerating solar and biomass projects.

This to reduce dependency on imported electricity and to empower local authorities to implement the power purchase agreement system.

The LPM further calls for the development of a sustainable tariff model that keeps electricity affordable for all, and prioritising immediate energy reforms.

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