NUMSA calls on NERSA to stop the IPP project at Eskom
1 February 2019
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is demanding that the Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) which were signed with the Independent Power Producers must be set aside on the grounds that NERSA authorized the agreements without proper public consultation. The lack of proper public consultation was part of the reason that the proposals for nuclear were challenged by Earthlife and the South African Faith Communities Environment Institute. This was one of the proposals we are making to NERSA today which is hearing submissions from stakeholders on Eskom’s request for a 45% tariff increase over three years.
As the largest trade union in South Africa, and a recognized union at Eskom, we reject any request for a tariff increase. It is not in the interests of the working class majority and the poor for Eskom to be granted an increase. If energy prices go up, it will mean the costs of all basic goods, food, transportation, etc, will also go up and this will worsen conditions for the poor and the working class. This will also affect small and medium firms negatively as the high cost of Energy will impact negatively on the bottom line, resulting massive job losses.
The IPP’s are costly and they are part of the reason that Eskom is hugely in debt today. Furthermore, IPP’s will result in the loss of at least one hundred thousand jobs because of the closure of coal plants in Mpumalanga. Eskom pays R2,20 per kilowatt hour for electricity, and then it sells it to the market at 86 cents per kilowatt hour. Eskom can produce electricity very cheaply at less than 50c per kilowatt hour through coal but it is pursuing this disastrous project because President Cyril Ramaphosa’s brother in law, billionaire Patrice Motsepe and other members of the ANC elite, are making money from the project.
We also reject that Eskom should be broken up and privatized in order for its problems to be solved. We maintain that privatization will result in higher energy costs for the consumer, thus making electricity even more inaccessible to the poor and the working class. Privatization results in massive job shedding and it must be rejected.
NUMSA joined members of the community, the Soweto Action Committee and the United Front in demonstrating against any increase in the tariff. We will continue to mobilise the working class to reject high energy costs, and also to fight against IPP’s and privatization of Eskom, as we have been doing.
The struggle continues!
Issued by Andrew Chirwa, NUMSA President, 1 February 2019