The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) believes the 60 000 jobs the government says will be created by the addition of renewable energy sources to the grid will not materialise.
The government’s long-awaited signing of agreements with 27 independent renewable energy producers (IPP projects) was blocked yesterday.
This after Numsa and Transform RSA obtained an urgent interdict in the High Court in Pretoria to prevent Eskom from signing IPP contracts.
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe last week announced that government and Eskom would sign 27 of the agreements pertaining to bid rounds 3.5 and 4 of the department of energy’s acclaimed Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme yesterday, after a delay of nearly two years.
The contracts would ensure the provision of energy from renewable sources to the national grid for 20 years.
Radebe claimed the contracts would lead to the creation of approximately 60 000 jobs in the renewables industry, while also reducing the cost of electricity.
But Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi questioned how the department would create jobs, when there were threats of coal power stations shutting down.
“Around last year, Eskom announced that five Mpumalanga Eskom stations would be shut down. We were never told how these workers would benefit from this or what would happen to them,” said Hlubi.
“What happened to the Eskom Build Programme? It did not create jobs. They have not communicated with us with regards to how they will create these 60 000 jobs. We want to see details of that agreement. This whole deal is just suspicious to us.”
Hlubi said the union was questioning the intentions.
“We want to know who will benefit from this deal and why the department is rushing to sign it. The department wants to impose policies that are not good for us. They are trying to impose business deals on us,” she said.
In terms of the interdict, Radebe now has to hold off on signing the IPP agreements until the court hearing on March 27.