COSATU Free State refuses to attend the signing of the agreement between Eskom and Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality and will seek legal recourse.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Free State is in possession of an invitation to attend and deliver a message of support at the Distribution Agency Agreement to be concluded between Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality (MAP) and Eskom on 07 May 2024.

This agreement will appoint Eskom as an electricity distribution agent for MAP. This process has been designed to also include the secondment of municipal workers who are South African Municipal Workers’ Union(SAMWU) members to Eskom for the duration of the contract.

Weeks before receiving the invitation, we had written through SAMWU to MAP to reignite the discussions about the process of bringing in Eskom as an electricity distribution agent in MAP. The issues of the conditions of service workers in line with Labour Relations Act section 197 remain unresolved.

We regret that we have been met with a lack of political and administrative will to address the conditions of service issues by Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality. For the past nine months we have initiated processes to host the Local Labour Forum to deal with these issues and the process has been addressed with intransigence from the municipality.

This process came about after COSATU filed a Labour Relations Act Section 77 notice for a Socio-Economic strike demanding a reliable supply of electricity and water in MAP. The municipality has always been absent when critical discussions had to take place to take the process forward.

The Federation is not opposed to the conclusion of the agreement but there are issues that need to be dealt with, especially the term of the agreement. The last draft at our disposal mentioned a 20-year term. There is no capacitating joint project that should last that long! The issues of workers also must be clarified as the electricity department being taken over is an ongoing concern.

COSATU Free State will not honour the invitation as doing so it would be legitimizing the process and compromising the interests of our members in the process. If it were an engagement process, we would gladly attend. However, we can’t attend a dubious ceremonial signing event of a contract we do not agree with.

We will therefore be seeking legal recourse in the best interests of our members in relation to this matter. Our members are also residents in MAP, we can’t be part of the law-breaking process that will unfold in MAP on 07/05/2024.

The struggle continues!

Issued by COSATU Free State

Monyatso Mahlatsi, COSATU Free State Provincial Secretary

Enquiries on 051 447 5499 or 076 115 9923