The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is highly disturbed by the allegations of racism levelled against ESKOM Group Chief Executive Officer André de Ruyter. He is also accused together with other managers to have been purging black suppliers from Eskom’s database.

 According to the suspended Chief Procurement Officer Solly Tshitangano, De Ruyter prefers white-owned companies over black-owned companies. These are indeed serious allegations and disturbing in their nature and character. We cannot condone this apartheid tactical style of leadership.

The NUM stands firm in its support for the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) to probe the allegations against De Ruyter. Scopa will conduct an inquiry into procurement deviations and other issues that have also been flagged by the Special Investigating Unit at ESKOM.

The NUM calls on Minister Pravin Gordhan to start taking a human shape, the Minister must desist from taking the shape of an amoeba animal. It must be understood that it is against the law of this country to display racist behaviour. Whenever racism shows its ugly head it must be dealt with and defeated. What is more disturbing is that the Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan seems less interested in remedying the situation. 

As the proponents of the creation of a non-racist society underpinned in the National Democratic Revolution, the NUM cannot be class neutral when such allegations are raised.

We have further noted reports that ESKOM requires R1 billion a week for its survival. The NUM is on record alluding that the perpetual injection of money to ESKOM without understanding where the money is going is a futile exercise.

The problems of ESKOM cannot be resolved by only injecting money. The major problems of ESKOM are the price of primary energy, the evergreen apartheid coal contracts, the cost of IPPs, the use of diesel to avoid load shedding, the drop sales and the failure to collect revenue. We must first solve these problems before we think of injecting more money.

The government must review the evergreen apartheid coal contracts and the IPPs contracts that are milking ESKOM.

Instead of talking about unbundling ESKOM, the shareholder must revert back to the vertically integrated structure which worked for years. ESKOM must bring back the cost-plus mines to its books. This will allow ESKOM to reduce the unnecessary cost of coal.

For more information, please contact:

William Mabapa, NUM Acting General Secretary, 082 880 4439

Khangela Baloyi, NUM Energy Sector Coordinator, (021)550 4294/ 072 450 6251