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NUM tells Ramaphosa to disband Eskom board

Eskom Chairman Jabu Mabuza and CEO Phakamani Hadebe.
Eskom Chairman Jabu Mabuza and CEO Phakamani Hadebe.
Image: Freddy Mavunda / Financial Mail

The government should retain the current structure of Eskom and simply change its management to rescue the company from total collapse, said the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Thursday.

NUM, which is the majority union at the state-owned power utility, said it has never been consulted by government on the unbundling of Eskom, a move which the union believes will not save the company.

NUM president Joseph Montisetse said the government should simply disband the current board as it had failed to prevent load-shedding, arguing that the best option for the government is to only change the power utility's board and management.

“We are not managing Eskom. Eskom has management and a board. We are saying the president must disband this board. The only alternative is the status quo. The unbundling is something that cannot solve anything. You have to solve the management of Eskom by putting credible and effective board and effective management,” Montisetse said.

Eskom started implementing load-shedding on Sunday after it warning that that it had lost generational capacity to meet the country’s demand.

Yesterday, the department of public enterprise told a portfolio committee on public enterprises that Eskom would go down if did not get cash injection from the government by April. But President Cyril Ramaphosa said he would outline a plan to rescue the power utility from its financial problems on Thursday when he responds to the debate on his State of the Nation Address.

In his address last week, Ramaphosa announced that the government would split Eskom into entities – generation, transmission and distribution under Eskom Holdings – a move that angered trade unions. The unions believe the move would benefit independent power producers.

NUM also rejected government’s move to bring international engineers to help identify the problems at Eskom. NUM said it has 15,000 members working at Eskom, about 3,000 at the utility's subsidiary Rotek Industries and 25,000 members at the coal mines in Mpumalanga.

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