NUM promises mass protests over Independent Power Providers
Kgaugelo Masweneng | 2017-03-29 14:55:54.0
NUM promises mass action to defend Eskom from being run down.
Image by: REUTERS
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it will mobilise mass protests across the country in an effort to prevent the privatisation of Eskom through the involvement of Independent Power Providers (IPPs).
At a press briefing in Johannesburg on Wednesday‚ NUM president Thamsanqa Matosa said President Jacob Zuma had been misled on the impact that signing contracts with IPPs could have on the mining‚ energy and construction sectors.
“We will embark on rolling mass action to defend our Eskom from being run down – to prevent massive job losses‚ electricity price hikes and the possible collapse of the livelihood of people in coal-mining communities” Matosa said.
According to the NUM‚ if Eskom signs contracts with IPPs which vouch for green energy‚ it could find itself having to close five power stations‚ leading to massive job losses – about 10 000 direct job losses and a further 40 000 jobs throughout the sector.
Asked if NUM was not being used by Eskom to fight its battles‚ Matosa said: “Eskom is only implementing a decision from the government and does not have the power to oppose (it). And it is important to note that this is a problem at national level‚ since not only will the shutdown of five mines affect the price of electricity but can potentially result in job losses in coal mines who supply Eskom‚ and other linking service providers in the sector.”
In response to President Jacob Zuma’s statement during the 2017 State Of The Nation Address that Eskom should fast-track the signing of agreements with IPPs‚ the NUM fired a broadside at the ANC‚ saying it did not care about workers.
“Actually‚ who are these IPPs? Who stands to benefit? The ANC must come clean. The silence echoes privatisation through the back door‚” Matosa said.