COSATU supports temporary emissions exemptions for Kusile Power Station

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) supports the temporary minimum emissions standards exemptions announced by the Minister for Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms. Barbara Creecy, for Eskom’s Kusile Power Station. 

The minimum emissions standards exemption for 3 Kusile stacks for the period of November 2023 to March 2025 will enable Kusile to return the 3 stacks to the grid in November 2023.  This will bring a potential of 2100 MW back to the grid 13 months earlier and thus sparing an already battered economy of 2 levels of loadshedding for this period.

COSATU and its Affiliates support all possible intervention to end loadshedding.  The economy cannot grow with up to 10 hours of loadshedding a day.  The current levels of loadshedding are seeing millions of workers lose wages and plunging them further into debt and poverty.  It is placing thousands of jobs at risk when the nation is already battling with a 42% unemployment rate.  It is jeopardising the survival of countless of SMMEs and companies.  It is estimated that loadshedding cost the fiscus R60 billion in 2022.  This is money that would have made a difference to public servants’ wages and the public services the nation depends on.

COSATU and its Affiliates support moving from carbon and pollution intensive energy generation to cleaner forms of energy.  Workers, in particular mine and energy workers and neighbouring communities have long felt the consequences of pollution and climate change. 

A Just Energy Transition has long been the call of COSATU and its Affiliates.  A JET needs to tackle climate change, whilst simultaneously addressing our energy generation deficit crisis, growing the economy and reducing unemployment.  We cannot afford to sacrifice one for the other.  In normal circumstances such an exemption would not be necessary, unfortunately South Africa is experiencing circumstances that are far from normal.  We thus need to find a sober balance.

COSATU notes that only 2 of Eskom’s power stations have emissions limitations measures.  The temporary removal of the minimum emissions standards for 3 of Kusile’s stacks will result in additional pollution for the neighbouring communities.  It is critical Eskom with the support of the Department for Environmental Affairs, put in place the necessary measures to minimise exposure, protect and monitor workers, neighbouring and communities.  We need to move towards implementing such measures as well as to Eskom’s other power stations which currently do not have these.

It is critical that government work with and support, as well as hold accountable for these measures and their requested exemption timeframes.  Eskom has a less than stellar record in sticking to timeframes and will need to be closely monitored to ensure that they stick to these.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687