The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is very disturbed by the recent suspension of the Koeberg Power Station General Manager, Mr Velaphi Ntuli. We see this as a continuous attempt by the COO, Jan Obelhozer and the GCEO Andre De Ruyter to purge black leaders in ESKOM, citing poor performance issues.

The NUM has had serious disagreements with Mr Velaphi Ntuli, we even had members that were dismissed under his watch without him assisting, but we will not be a responsible and mature union if we didn’t see past these disagreements and note this attack on black managers for what it is in Eskom, a serious reversal of transformation gains that we had to fight tooth and nail to achieve.

Those that have seen the painstaking efforts that it took to transform the Koeberg Power Station will never allow us to go back to where we once were. The NUM knows too well the history and the Group Executive of Human Resources was roped in by the then CEO Brian Dames to assist in transforming Koeberg Power Station, we are rather very worried about the Human Resources GE`s deafening silence on the reversal of transformation gains that we see.

Let’s just show South Africa the obvious but hidden truths that the NUM sees. Recently we have seen not one or two but four Generation Group executives changed within a very short space of time, Truth of the matter is if you continue to do the same thing and expect different results you might be missing the point, and that point could as well be that it might not be the Group executives that are a problem the problem might easily be lying with the very same COO that keeps on changing them.

Two investigations were undertaken against ESKOM COO Jan Obelhozer and he remained in his office without any attempt to suspend him, but it takes him a day without notice to suspend the General Manager Mr Velaphi Ntuli without impunity, this “animal farm” approach of all animals being equal and some more equal than others at Eskom seems to have a racial connotation to it, why are blacks managers so easy to deal with and the white managers can do as they please?

Other Facts worth looking at are, the year 2017 Velaphi Ntuli is the first Power Station manager that went to accept the WANO peer review that took Koeberg Power Station for the first time to the level 2 INPO rating. It was still under his leadership that the re-accreditation for INPO Operator Training Program was re-issued including Initial License Operator Training. It was again in his leadership that the Radiation Monitor Training National Accreditation for EWSETA qualification was achieved and pitched at NQF 4.

The exodus of skill that we have seen and continue to see at Koeberg Power Station was shared with the generation Heads by the NUM, little did we see in terms of assistance we never even received an acknowledgement of our concerns. The nuclear fraternity out there in the world is milking the Koeberg Power Station skill like it’s going out of fashion and nothing is being done about that.

The recent apology by the GCEO Andre De Ryter on 702 Radio on continuous load shedding to the country didn’t see any suspension, but black leaders must be subjected to that, which then begs a very pertinent question, At which point are we going to stop allowing underachievers to be the judges and expect sanity to prevail.

We as the NUM will not continue to be silent when black Leaders of ESKOM are being made sacrificial lambs of white failures. We condemn this purge of black Leaders with the serious contempt it deserves. 

For more information, please contact:

Phumzile Mvovo, NUM Western Cape Full-Time Shop steward, 076 298 4024

The National Union of Mineworkers 

7 Rissik Street. 

Cnr Frederick Johannesburg Tel: 011 377 2111 Cell: 083 809 3257