Numsa slams ‘nefarious’ plans to privatise Eskom, other SOEs 28th January 2019 BY: AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY <m.engineeringnews.co.za/author.php?u_id=1166>
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has accused the governing African National Congress of pursuing what it calls ‘nefarious’ plans to privatise power utility Eskom and other cash-strapped state owned enterprises.
In a column published in a local newspaper on Sunday, Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said senior management at Eskom and the government had identified privatisation as a way of covering up “for their ineptitude and corruption” at the entity, which has been at the centre of allegations of corruption and state capture. ADVERTISEMENT <www.engineeringnews.co.za/adcentre/rv/en/www/delivery/ck.php?oaparams=2__bannerid=4763__zoneid=874__OXLCA=1__cb=17702e0dea__oadest=https%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2F2Fu97GD>
Numsa, which has launched at new political party to contest this year’s general elections, said Jim’s article “perfectly summarizes our position on Eskom”.
The utility is asking the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) for 15 percent annual tariff increases for three years, three times the current consumer inflation rate, and has warned that rising debt owed by municipalities, coupled with its poor financial and operational performance pose a systemic risk to its sustainability. ADVERTISEMENT <www.engineeringnews.co.za/adcentre/rv/en/www/delivery/ck.php?oaparams=2__bannerid=1813__zoneid=123__cb=fe131127ff__oadest=https%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2F2BV1bLn>
The ruling ANC has long shown its lack of appetite to privatise cash-strapped state firms, but has in recent years hinted it might not have an option but to invite at least partial private investment in some, including Eskom.
Numsa’s Jim said any such plans would lead to retrenchments.
“History has shown us that privatisation is not beneficial because it always leads to massive job cuts and because profit is the motive, it translates to higher costs for the consumer,” he said.
“More than two decades after the end of apartheid and the majority of people continue to be denied access to electricity because it is too costly.