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The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Eskom Shop Stewards from all the 11 regions of the NUM converged in Gauteng at Bon Hotel in Midrand on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2017 to discuss amongst other things the impact of the Independent Power Producer’s(IPP's) entrance in the energy market as informed by the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
The NUM is extremely saddened that Eskom Board has taken a decision to shut down five power stations without consulting the unions as stakeholders. The power stations to be shut down are Hendrina, Kriel, Komati, Grootvlei and Camden.
The NUM has noted that the decision is already taken without our involvement to partly privatize Eskom. We view the entrance or the inclusion of IPP to the energy sphere as privatization brought to Eskom through the back door. Our country is under serious attack by the neo liberal agenda that seeks to undermine the gains of our liberation since 1994. The NUM always said it cannot be about us without us.
During the deliberations at the Shop Stewards Council, the NUM shop stewards came to the conclusion that as much as we support green energy we cannot ignore scientific facts that green energy is not as cheap as it is portrayed by the capitalist who are dealing with it. We know that capitalism is about profit maximization. Capitalist will go to the extent of misleading society for only profit maximisation.
We have further noted that green energy is not even reliable. It doesn’t have the capacity to replace the current base load as currently subjectively portrayed. The sun doesn’t shine every day and also the wind doesn’t blow every day. We have a problem with the selective and subjective bias that opportunistically purports the renewable energy as the alpha and omega for south Africa whilst completely turning a blind eye to the realities that these renewables can’t be used as base loads. What is going to happen if the sun does not shine and also when the wind does not blow? We will definitely have a black out.
South Africa had black outs in 2008 mainly because of the interference of politicians in scientific decision of Eskom. We appeal as the NUM that politicians must leave scientific decision to scientists. The NUM agree that there should be a reduction in Green House Gases (GHG) efforts to introduce renewable energy, but should not result in retrenchments.
We have identified the following impact to South Africa due to the introduction of IPPs:
. That there is going to be major retrenchments to our members in energy and mining sector.
. IPPs are not labor intensive.
. That they are more expensive than coal.
. That there is no social labor associated with the decision to introduce IPP's.
. That the whole supply chain in the coal industry will be affected.
. That it will affect the public in that they will have to pay more on electricity directly and indirectly.
We have therefore concluded that we will have a national march that will begin as soon as possible to protest against the signing of the inclusion of IPP's to the national grid. The action will include mass action and educating the public on the real impact of the IPPs on the price of electricity. The inclusion of IPP's means that Eskom must pay more for the commodity that we can produce for less price. If Eskom agrees, the long term impact of this might result in Eskom being bankrupt and being sold to the highest bidder.
The NUM support green energy but we do not support backdoor privatization of Eskom in the form of IPP's. We have fought the privatization of Eskom during the period of the 1996 class project and we will continue fighting it now. The NUM is calling for the Public Enterprise Minister Lyne Brown to step down as she has failed to meet the NUM and other unions several times when she was invited.
For more information, please contact:
David Sipunzi: NUM General Secretary: 082 883 7293
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson, 083 809 3257
7 Rissik Street.
Tel: 011 377 2111
Twitter: @Num Media