Union Demands Resignation Of Eskom Boss André De Ruyter

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) yesterday embarked on a march to Eskom headquarters Megawatt Park in Sunninghill, north of Joburg, as part of a rolling programme of mass action directed at stopping the unbundling and alleged privatisation of the power utility.
Union members marched up and down Maxwell Drive in Sandton and then gathered outside the entrance to Megawatt Park with a visible police presence accompanied by Johannesburg Metro Police Department officers. Union members came from various regions such as the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and many others.
Trade union federation Cosatu threw its weight behind today’s protest march. The union is demanding the resignations of Eskom group CEO André de Ruyter and chief operating officer (COO) Jan Oberholzer, as well as the dissolution of Eskom’s board.
NUM is also calling for the conditions of service for their members to be improved immediately.
Acting NUM General Secretary William Mabapa said the purpose of the march was to ensure that the voice of the workers is heard.
“We are here today, marching because we don’t agree with the unbundling of Eskom. We strongly believe that the unbundling of Eskom is a precursor to privatisation. What that will mean is that electricity will be expensive to buy,” he said.
He added that the power utility is the lifeblood of the economy, and they remain adamant that it should remain in the hands of the state.
“The economy needs reliable and affordable energy supply for it to recover. The current and ongoing loadshedding is a risk to jobs and the economy,” he said.
According to Cosatu Spokesperson Sizwe Pamla, the federation presented an Eskom Social Compact that presented key intervention areas to stabilise and rebuild the power supplier.
“These key components include ensuring the security of workers’ jobs, tackling corruption and wasteful expenditure, and holding the culprits to account. The federation reiterates its call for all Eskom contracts to be reviewed to ensure that they are legal and affordable,” said Pamla.
He added that the federation also wants clear transition processes to be put in place to ensure that coal power stations and mines reaching the end of their life span are managed properly and workers are given the necessary support.
“This is critical to ensure that workers are not retrenched, and communities are not devastated. Eskom cannot continue being a burden to the state and an obstacle to economic growth but also, we will never accept the privatisation of the power utility. A functional Eskom is important to drive the recovery of South Africa’s economy and the region’s industrialisation,” he added.