Eskom Megawatt Park, courtesy of Eskom's Supplementary and Divisional Report 2013

Lead South Africa

Unions stop Eskom from signing renewable energy deals

JOHANNESBURG, March 13 – The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) and Transform RSA on Monday night obtained an urgent interdict at the North Gauteng High Court to prevent Eskom from concluding the outstanding renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) products, including the power purchase agreements.

Eskom had planned to sign the agreements on Tuesday.

However, NUMSA and Transform RSA successfully launched a late night high court bid on Monday to urgently interdict Eskom from signing the 27 (IPP) contracts.

SA court grants union interdict blocking renewable energy deal

“The court found that our application meets the standard for urgency and therefore granted us the interdict. Furthermore, the Energy minister was forced to give an undertaking in court that he would not sign the IPP agreements on Tuesday until the matter has been given a full hearing by the High court,” said NUMSA in a statement issued by its General Secretary Irvin Jim.

“This is a victory for NUMSA. We joined this application with Transform RSA in order to protect the livelihoods of thousands of workers and their families.”

NUMSA said signing these contracts would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole.

“‘The signing of the IPP means that Eskom will require less coal-fired electricity. This is likely to lead to the closure of the coal fired power plants and the impact will be that at least 30 thousand working class families will suffer because of job losses.”

The union said the IPP roll out would raise the cost of electricity dramatically “because IPP’s cost much more than coal-fired electricity”.

NUMSA, which has differences with the ruling African National Congress, added: “The ANC government clearly wants to make the working class and the poor suffer even more than they do now.”

The union said it was demanding the opportunity to make submissions to National Energy Regulator of South Africa, Eskom and the Energy minister on the IPP contracts and the implications for our members and their families.

“Eskom was planning to sign these agreements despite the fact that a previous application, by the Coal Transporters Forum to interdict them from signing is still pending at the North Gauteng High Court. They were attempting to impose this deal on us without consultation, but we stopped them.”

The matter will be heard at the North Gauteng High Court on 27 March.

“We are confident that the court will recognize that our rights have been violated and will look favourably on our application. We call on all our members to join us in court to defend their families’ and their livelihoods.”


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