COSATU statement on the appointment of a New Eskom Board

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the appointment of the new Eskom Board. We wish them well and hope that they will manage to stop the implosion of the power utility and fix the current load shedding.

We expect this Board working with Eskom’s management to ensure that the power utility develops a solid and sustainable funding model. Continuous double digit and above inflation electricity tariffs hikes for the past 16 years are a burden on consumers and the economy, and they are stifling its growth.

We expect government to give Eskom the full support and resources it needs to deliver upon its mandate.  This includes government honouring the Eskom Social Compact drafted by COSATU and signed by government and social partners at Nedlac. Eskom should be assisted to slash its debt burden to enable it to focus its resources on ramping up maintenance and investing in new generation capacity. Law enforcement organs should also help Eskom to tackle the rampant corruption crippling it. 

Failure to do so, is tantamount to tying the hands of the Board and Eskom when they need to be given full support to rebuild Eskom and end loadshedding.

We have also noted the appointment of the Federation’s Former General Secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali, to the Eskom Board.

Mr. Ntshalintshali will bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the Eskom Board.  He has led COSATU as General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary since 2000.  Before that he was the Deputy General Secretary of CEPPWAWU, a key union operating in the energy industry where he had started his career in SASOL.

Mr. Ntshalintshali brings decades of leadership experience as a former leader of COSATU, he has been fully engaged with Eskom issues inside and outside of Nedlac.

One of the challenges of the previous Boards of the Power utility has been their inability to manage industrial relations.  This failing led to the Stage 6 loadshedding a couple of months ago at great cost to workers, Eskom, and the economy.

Germany, Japan, Sweden, and numerous other successful industrial democracies have shown the value and importance of having the voice of workers heard on boards of companies.  This helps ensure that the management and owners of companies hear and understand the frustrations of workers, that workers who run the companies are able to table their proposals on how to boost productivity.  It helps build the trust between management and its employees that is critical to ensuring healthy labour relations.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Cell: 060 975 679