The Congress of south African Trade Unions is deeply worried that government and Eskom are not moving fast enough to ensure there is reliable and affordable energy supply in the country to enable the economy to recover. This is exacerbating an already worse cost of living and is pushing the economy deeper into a depression.
Workers are already being retrenched and others are sent home unpaid. The Eskom Social Compact that was signed by government and social partners at Nedlac in 2020 needs to be implemented with speed.
Eskom’s unmanageable debt levels need to be slashed by half to enable it to focus on investing in maintenance and new generation. The power utility also needs to ensure it has the right skills at the right places. Efforts to tackle corruption and wasteful expenditure need to be accelerated.
The Federation welcomes the progress that has been made in the wage negotiations at Eskom. Eskom has been in a crisis and subjecting the economy to loadshedding since 2006, workers cannot be blamed for decades of neglect, under investment and state capture.
The recent calls from the private sector for the power utility to be unbundled and privatised are misplaced and miss the point. Eskom generates 95% of electricity and transmits and distributes 100%. It is our greatest economic asset and cannot be handed to those whose sole motive is to maximise profit.
We agree that the deterioration of the power utility poses the greatest risk to our economy, but we have no choice but to fix it. Ideological fantasies of privatisation may appeal to others, but they won’t resolve our energy crisis.
The President and his cabinet need to take the nation into their confidence on what government and Eskom will do to take power utility out of this untenable crisis and get it back on a sustainable footing and give the economy an opportunity to recover.
We simply cannot afford more dithering, shifting of deadlines, bureaucratic delays and endless loadshedding.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794