Cosatu announced in April it would collaborate with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) in a campaign to prevent the loss of thousands of jobs that would follow the decommissioning of five coal-fired power stations. Much of the debate centres on the reason for the decommissioning. The signing of outstanding contracts with independent power producers (IPPs) by Eskom has come close to the centre of this controversial issue and the campaign target. Concerns about job losses are understandable, as is the belief that a just transition into renewable energy should be accepted by everyone. However, directing the campaign against the IPPs appears to be a knee-jerk reaction that has not considered the long-term implications. The government, using the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme, directed Eskom to contract IPPs to provide clean energy to the national grid. This energy is obtained from renewable sources such as wind and solar. IPPs produce at most onl...

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