JOHANNESBURG- The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Wednesday that the signing of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) by the Department of Energy was an insult to the working class and the poor, but Dr Chris Haw, chairman of SOLA Future Energy, said that this was a long time coming and was pleased the deal got done.
Energy Minister Jeff Radebe late on Wednesday signed the 27 agreements. They represented an investment of R56 billion injected by the private sector into the economy with no contribution from government other than the support to Eskom in the event of a default by the buyer.
NUM energy sector coordinator Paris Mashego said, “We are highly angered that the ANC-led (African National Congress-led) government has signed the outstanding 27 IPPs contracts. The clean energy project is hijacked by the capitalist for their narrow capitalist interests,”
Mashego added that union was not going to continue supporting the ANC-led government because it thought it was “destroying jobs”.
Mashego said, “Workers of this country will not continue to vote and support an organization which is taking away jobs from the poor. We cannot perpetually campaign and vote for the so-called “New Dawn” as narrated by [President] Cyril Ramaphosa,”
“Over 40 000 jobs will be lost in mining, energy and the entire value chain, rendering Witbank and the surrounding areas into ghost towns. ”
But Haw from SOLA saw it differently, he said, “This signing has been a long time coming, and it’s a monumental moment for the South African renewable energy industry. Renewables are cheaper and more sustainable forms of energy. Their adoption will reduce the cost of electricity for households and businesses in the long run,”
“This investment of R56 billion injected by the private into the economy, with no contribution from government other than support to Eskom in the event of a default by the buyer. This will have a positive impact on the economy and competition in the energy sector will certainly benefit the consumer.”
Photo Credit- eNCA