Energy Minister Jeff Radebe . Picture: GCIS
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe . Picture: GCIS

More trade unions have vowed to fight the agreement set to be entered into between Eskom and 27 Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday it would not allow Energy Minister Jeff Radebe to go ahead with the plan as it would "perpetuate the stealing of money from SOEs".

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) also said at a press briefing on Wednesday that their national protest action scheduled for March 20 would also stand against any potential job losses incurred as a result of IPPs.

On Tuesday, Energy minister Jeff Radebe postponed the signing of contracts with 27 power producers due to a court action brought by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and nongovernmental organisation Transform RSA.

At the heart of the disagreements over the IPP contracts is the potential loss of up to 30,000 jobs in coal mining. This despite assurances by government that the agreements would probably create more than 60,000 jobs.

The contracts are set to offer consumers the choice of using clean and renewable energy instead of coal as a power source.

Numsa spokeswoman Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said due to revelations made by Eskom in 2017 that IPPs would be unable to absorb the current workforce, Numsa found it strange that government was claiming the impact of the transition would be positive for the labour market.

"It is not the first time that fake promises of job creation have been used to justify the indefensible. During the arms deal, we were promised thousands of jobs as a result of the ‘offsets’ but they never materialised. We are not naive. We will not be misled by false promises. We want guarantees that not one job will be lost as a result of this project," Hlubi-Majola said.

NUM has described the exercise as "madness" and warned the government and Eskom would be "pushed to a total shutdown" if the deal continues.

Radebe indicated the contract signing would be revisited on March 27, after the High Court in Pretoria heard arguments in the matter.

NUM has threatened to mobilise all 182,000 members, as well as court action, if Radebe went ahead with the plan.

"We are going to mobilise all our members and society to revolt against this planned madness called IPPs. We will also embark on legal court action to make sure that this madness does not continue. We will fight until the cows come home.

NUM spokesman Livhuwani Mammburu says they are guided by the words of Nelson Mandela that, "If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government," .

Amcu said it would raise attend to the IPP issue as well as other developments threatening the livelihoods of workers during its section 77-sanctioned strike.

Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said 20,000 of its members would march to the mineral resources departments in Polokwane, Durban and Welkom and the seat of government at the Union Buildings next Tuesday to demand government accountability and action on the decline of the mining industry.

The union also wants the department to enforce stricter laws for the implementation of social and labour plans by mining houses, saying the companies had a responsibility to the social and economic advancement of the country, especially in areas where they operate.

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