Cosatu warns of strike over IPPs
The union federation says government lied about the creation of 58,000 jobs
Cosatu has threatened to intensify its opposition to the government’s recently concluded contracts with independent power producers (IPPs) by going on strike.
The federation said the government had lied when it announced that the procurement would lead to the creation of 58,000 jobs and viewed this as an attack on its campaign against the privatisation of state-owned companies.
Mining labour unions have taken Energy Minister Jeff Radebe to court, claiming the implementation of the IPP contracts will lead to more than 40,000 job losses in coal mines and other secondary industries.
Cosatu said it was during consultations with the government over its section 77 certificate application at the National Economic Development and Labour Council that it discovered there was no proof that 58,000 jobs would arise.
"It’s a fallacy … it is a lie. It’s used to blackmail us into buying into the IPPs, which are expensive … and you have politicians linked to the same IPPs," Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said.
Radebe was labelled "the most anti-worker minister of the last 24 years" by Cosatu for pursuing the programme.
During his recent budget speech, Radebe said the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme would secure an investment of $10.8bn into the economy. The 27 IPPs amounted to an investment of R56bn, he added.
The issue will be discussed at a meeting of the ANC, South African Communist Party and Cosatu alliance, as the federation felt "sidelined" in the consultations that had led to the decision on IPPs.
Business Day understands Cosatu leaders took President Cyril Ramaphosa to task over this issue, among others, during a dialogue at its central executive committee this week.
The issues would be referred to the alliance’s political council, much to the dissatisfaction of Cosatu’s executive committee members, who said Ramaphosa’s engagement with Cosatu was in his capacity as president of SA, not the ANC.