COSATU’s statement on the ongoing unbundling of Eskom

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply troubled by the ongoing unbundling of the power utility Eskom. This follows the power utility’s request for lenders and regulators to approve its separate transmission company by month’s end. We have consistently expressed our opposition to this unnecessary, concealed, and unjustifiable exercise.

While we fully support the government’s commitment to fixing the power utility, we remain opposed to any restructuring that will add to decreasing levels of job security and bring about fundamental changes in the delivery of basic services. Our position on this issue is not just one of a narrow interest group but it is also driven by a wider societal perspective.

The crises crippling Eskom are endemic corruption, systemic mismanagement, galloping wasteful and fruitless expenditure, and structural shifts in energy generation. Unbundling will not resolve these ills that are eating at the heat of Eskom. Unbundling is tantamount to moving the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic.

We remain totally opposed to any restructuring plan that will benefit the private sector and increase prices for the working class. The Federation remains ready to launch a fight against this backroom privatisation of SOEs.

We still insist that the state must take the lead to transform the legacy of underdevelopment and we want a developmental state to implement a developmental agenda. We need to work on developing an alternative production system that is based on domestic demand and human needs.

South Africa will not address the deepening poverty, growing inequality, and endemic unemployment through privatisation.

We demand a government that is bold enough to intervene on behalf of the poor and push back against the tyranny of the market, not a government whose economic instinct is to hand over everything to the private sector. COSATU remains steadfast in its combative opposition to privatisation and will be intensifying its campaigns to halt any sale of the family jewels and handover of strategic economic sectors to the untransformed monopolies.

The Federation is also disappointed that the President hasn’t honoured a commitment he made in his meeting with labour to reverse the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (NERSA)’s approval of an 18% increase in electricity tariffs.

This is deeply disappointing because this increase remains a blow to workers and businesses struggling to survive in an economy that is still reeling from Covid-19 lockdowns and rampant inflation. We call on the President to honour this important commitment that he made to workers.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794