Union blocks signing of government deals with IPPs

Solar energy. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

JOHANNESBURG - Government and Eskom will not be able to sign contracts with 27 independent power producers (IPPs) on Tuesday as planned, after the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Transform RSA were granted an urgent court interdict. 

The Energy minister was forced to give an undertaking in court that he would not sign the agreements, until the matter has been given a full hearing by the North Gauteng High Court.

"Numsa believes that the signing of 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 30,000 working class families will suffer because of job losses," the union said in a statement.

Numsa also claims the IPP rollout will cause a dramatic spike in the price of electricity because IPPs are more costly than coal-fired power plants.

The solar and wind IPP projects are valued at R56-billion and government promised it would create thousands of jobs.

But Numsa disagrees. "The ANC government clearly wants to make the working class and the poor suffer even more than they do now," Numsa said.

The union wants to make representations to energy regulator Nersa, Eskom and the Energy minister on the implications for workers and their families. 

The matter is set to be heard in court on March 27.



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