FS Eskom workers to march against energy deal

Disgruntled Free State Eskom employees belonging to the National Union of Mine-workers (NUM) are set to embark on a march in Bloemfontein today, March 27.

They will be handing out a memorandum of grievances to Eskom management in the province. These include among others, Eskom’s plan to sign agreements with 27 Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for renewable energy.

The march comes after the National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) and Transform RSA launched an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on March 12th to prevent Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe, from signing the power purchase agreements with the 27 IPPs pending a separate application by the Coal Transporters Forum to interdict the deal.

In a statement released on March 13th the Department of Energy said the interdict was not granted, but a full hearing was set for March 27th.

The department in turn placed the signing on hold until the matter was heard “in the spirit of constitutionalism and the rule of law”.

NUM Free State Deputy Regional Secretary Isaac Mtshotwana said the deals would only lead to short term employment.

Mtshotwana was reacting to statements made by Radebe that the deals would result in R56 billion in investments and generate 61 000 jobs.

Mtshotwana told OFM News the march would be short, starting at 12:00 at Loch Logan moving to the Bloemfontein Eskom Centre.

Other demands from the union include giving individuals on learnerships employment at the end of their term as well as giving two Eskom Centre receptionists permanent employment.