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Press Statement , 22 July 2022
NUM is flabbergasted with the solidarity critical skills list submitted to minister of public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is surprised and flabbergasted by the so-called former employee's skills list which was submitted to the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan. The NUM is also aware of the media reports that Gordhan has requested Solidarity to match the names provided with the skills that are allegedly needed. If it is true that the Minister is involved with this issue, it will mean that the Minister is interfering with the duties of the Eskom executives, in particular the HR executive.
We understand political interference in the running of SOEs is the main reason for the collapse of the SOEs. We urge the Minister to stop the interference if it is true that he is involved.
Companies have policies and procedures for recruitment. These policies and procedures are informed by the acts of parliament. The mushrooming of this so-called list of critical skills is an attempt by some anti-transformation individuals to undermine the little that was done on transformation in Eskom. It is a neoliberal agenda with a touch of racism whose aim is to reverse transformation.
The NUM agrees that there are serious problems at Eskom. The cause of load shedding is not a lack of skills at the operational level but a lack of skills at the strategic level. The Eskom board and the executive do not have a sound turnaround strategy to deal with the challenges that Eskom is facing. Eskom is faced with challenges that are ranging from the cost of IPPS, the 400 billion debt, the cost of primary energy in particular coal diesel, the drop in sales and municipal debt of around 40 billion amongst other challenges.
Eskom management implemented what they termed number reduction using natural attrition. The NUM is on record challenging this strategy. This strategy did not only reduce white workers but all workers of all races. Eskom does indeed need employees to replace the positions that were not filled due to the natural attrition number reducing strategy. The process of filing for these positions must follow the normal recruitment process for it to be fair for everyone. We need all positions to be filled as per the business structure, but to say that the load shedding is caused by a lack of skills is a poor analysis of the problem.
It is also not true that there was a retrenchment that targeted only white employees. The people who are on the list were not retrenched but resigned for greener pastures overseas. Some of these employees were separated due to having reached their retirement age.
Some of these Engineers don't even have qualifications to become engineers, the understanding of the NUM is that there's no shortage of critical skills in Eskom, because when the Units goes to Outage they are never serviced by Eskom employees but by contractors. The NUM always raised concerns that when the Units are coming back from Outage they are worse than before they went to Outage, they come back with leaks and malfunctioning, Units post Outages are literally underperforming and it's a norm.
NUM has full confidence in the current engineers and artisans that are in Eskom. The main challenge at Eskom is that the power utility is not buying components, spares and bolts to fix the technical problems in Power Stations. Artisans are resigning and they are not being replaced.
The NUM is opposed to the automatic employment of the people on the list. All citizens of South Africa must be given equal opportunity to apply for these jobs. The time of job reservation is long gone, now everyone is given equal opportunity to apply for a job.
For more information, please contact:
William Mabapa, NUM General Secretary, 082 880 4439
The National Union of Mineworkers7 Rissik Street.Cnr Frederick JohannesburgTel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257Twitter: @Num_Media