JOHANNESBURG – Government should come up with a plan to ensure no jobs were lost in the coal sector while power utility Eskom prepared to go into partnerships with independent power producers (IPP), the Congress of SA Trade Unions said on Wednesday.
The trade union federation said it supported a march by hundreds of coal truck drivers who descended on Pretoria earlier Wednesday to march to the Union Buildings.
“South Africa’s electricity generation is based on coal and plays an important role in ensuring that factories continue to retain and create more jobs. Therefore, any policy, including introduction of renewable energy, should ensure that we retain the current number of jobs and create new ones,” Cosatu said.
“Whilst we agree that there should be a reduction in green house gases (GHG) efforts to introduce renewable energy, this should not be allowed to result in job losses. Firstly, production of renewables should be owned by South Africans…pricing of renewable energy wind farms and solar systems should result in reduction of electricity tariffs that are paid for by South Africans.”
Unhappy truck drivers blocked major roads in Pretoria as they made their way into the capital. The protest, organised by Coal Transportation Forum, was against the contracting of IPP’s by Eskom as it would lead to job losses.
President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) that the Renewable Independent Power Producers’ Programme (REIPPP) was on track and that Eskom would soon contract IPPs to that effect.
March organisers handed a memorandum of demands to officials at the Union Buildings.
– African News Agency (ANA)