We grudgingly support PIC's R5bn for Eskom - COSATU

Federation says this is not a blank cheque, and they expect that the jobs of workers at SOE will remain safe

COSATU statement on the decision by PIC to advance a R5 billion bridging facility to Eskom

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the decision by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to advance a R5 billion bridging facility to Eskom for one month. Despite our reservations and trepidation, we grudgingly support this move and we view it as a way of ensuring that Eskom and the new leadership are given the necessary support to keep the lights on and restore the power utility to its rightful place.

We understand the role of Eskom in our economy and we are also thinking of the impact that an implosion of Eskom will have on the economy and jobs in general. We also remain adamant that the power utility should remain in the hands of the state.

The recent changes at Eskom that culminated in the appointment of a new board and a new acting CEO represent a step in the right direction. We will continue to monitor their work of restoring good corporate governance and cleaning up the mess and the rot at Eskom. We are also comforted by the fact that this facility is backed by a government guarantee and the transaction overall remains favourable to the GEPF.

This arrangement though should not be viewed as a blank cheque and since the process of turning around Eskom is partially funded by the workers retirement savings, we expect that the jobs of Eskom workers will remain safe. It is not lost on us that the newly appointed Eskom Board Chairperson Mr Jabu Mabuza decimated jobs at Telkom. His modus operandi is to make the workers pay the price for the sins of managers.

We want to make it very clear that we will remain vigilant and will ensure that the workers at Eskom are not made to pay a price for the sins of others. We will therefore not entertain any talks of retrenchments or of the privatisation of the power utility. We still insist that the culprits at Eskom should be investigated and held accountable for their vulgar looting and mismanagement of the company.

Statement issued by COSATU, 5 February 2018