An Eskom worker checks power lines. Picture: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART
An Eskom worker checks power lines. Picture: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART

The trade unions must understand that they are not dealing with a government that is antagonistic towards blacks. They are dealing with a government that is pro-black and represents people who live in poverty-stricken areas such as Gugulethu and Khayelitsha. 

It is union members’ money that is being used to give well-fed workers at Eskom and SAA the large salary increases they demand each year. Those who threaten to bring our fledgling democracy to its knees should be arrested and charged with treason.

If this results in Eskom being shut down for a month, so be it. The cost of standing up to blackmail is likely to be far lower in the long run than the cost of allowing it to continue.

The unions must back down and allow us to undo the damage that was done by the shortsighted policies of the Jacob Zuma era, stemming from his desire to hold on to power at all costs. Prosecutors should offer plea bargains and amnesties to those who admit to corruption and who return their ill-gotten gains and help to prosecute others.

People who work in essential services such as hospitals and power stations do not have the right to down tools whenever they please or to threaten to damage infrastructure. They are skating on extremely thin ice.

Terence Grant
Cape Town

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