The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has noted President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of additional measures to overcome loadshedding. The ongoing loadshedding is unsustainable for an economy with a 46% unemployment rate. The Federation hopes that the announced interventions will help resolve our loadshedding crisis. We still need more details including figures and timeframes because these need to be expedited. The country does not have the luxury of time.
COSATU still feels that we could have avoided much of this debilitating loadshedding if government had moved with greater speed to implement the commitments of the Eskom Social Compact.
We remain deeply concerned that two years after the signing of the Eskom Social Compact at Nedlac, government has not finalised the debt relief package for Eskom. This needs to be concluded as a matter of urgency because reducing Eskom’s debt burden to affordable levels is key to freeing liquidity for it to increase its maintenance and also invest in building its new generation capacity.
This debt relief, though, must not include the sale of Eskom’s generation capacity as previously called for by the Minister for Finance. COSATU will oppose the asset stripping of Eskom or any attempts to privatise it through the backdoor.
The government needs to move with speed to finalise the Cop26 $8 billion Just Energy Transition funding. This is critical to enabling Eskom to invest in new generation capacity, expand its renewable energy fleet, ensure workers and communities whose livelihoods are at risk are not left behind. This will also contribute to creating a local renewable energy manufacturing industry.
There is still more work that needs to be done to ensure that all consumers, in particular businesses, municipalities and government entities pay for the electricity they consume. Indigent households need to receive their allocation of free electricity.
These combined interventions are critical if Eskom is to be turned around and placed on a sustainable financial footing. What consumers cannot afford are double digit tariff hikes that suffocate the economy and bleed workers’ salaries.
The Federation welcomes the establishment of an energy task team that will include organised labour to ensure the implementation of these interventions. It is critical that all parties, in particular government, business, labour and communities work together to overcome our energy crisis. The Federation will avail itself to contribute to the critical work of this task team and to engage with government on the granular details of the President’s announcements at Nedlac. We reiterate our position that all of this work needs to have specific timeframes and deadlines because the citizens and the economy are paying a huge price for loadshedding.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 010 219 1339
Cell: 060 975 6794