COSATU notes the National Assembly’s passage of the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill

15 March 2024

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes the National Assembly’s passage of the Electricity Regulation Amendment (ERA) Bill.  The essence of the ERA Bill is to provide for the ex-post facto unbundling of Eskom into three separate companies.

COSATU remains deeply concerned about Eskom’s proceeding with its unbundling, including recent announcements of the establishment of its Transmission Company.  The Federation is thus opposed to the ERA Bill and calls upon Parliament to reject the Bill.

Eskom is facing multiple crises because of endemic corruption, endless wasteful expenditure, rampant cable theft, ill equipped and constantly exiting management and years of under investment in infrastructure.  It is not in a crisis because it is a single public utility.  It solutions rest upon addressing its fundamental crises and not restructuring its corporate shape or creating new boards. 

Separating Eskom into three utilities will create additional Boards and management costs when Eskom can least afford it.  It will weaken Eskom’s ability to plan its generation, transmission and distribution investments or exercise the requisite command and control. 

Workers fear Eskom’s unbundling may be a precursor to its future privatisation and the impact this may have on jobs and electricity tariffs for working class communities.

At best unbundling is an unnecessary ideological distraction and an exercise of futility tantamount to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, at worst it is a precursor to privatisation and the fundamental weakening of Eskom when the economy simply cannot afford such misguided adventures. 

COSATU will continue working with its Affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers, to raise our objections with government and Parliament and to engage with it on real solutions that can restore Eskom to once again be the engine of South Africa’s economic growth and industrial development.

Issued by COSATU For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687