Gigaba intervenes in Eskom strike

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IOL pic feb21 public enterprises gigaba Independent Newspapers Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba. File photo: Brandon van der Mescht

Johannesburg - Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba met with Eskom's Medupi Power Station construction stakeholders on Wednesday to “broker a resolution” so construction in Lephalale could resume.

“The minister's intervention is aimed at assisting the parties to reach a negotiated settlement to end the industrial action, and ensure that they develop collectively a lasting solution to the problems,” Gigaba's spokesperson Richard Mantu said in a statement.

“The minister believes that it is critical to stabilising the situation at Medupi and ensures that construction at the site resumes immediately, as further delays will have an adverse impact on the economic development of the country.”

Mantu said the parties agreed in principle to commit towards finding a resolution and to ensure that construction continues as “a matter of urgency”.

On Friday, 46 workers were arrested at the power station following violent protests there, Limpopo police said.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said they appeared in court and were released on R500 bail each.

He said their bail conditions include not engaging in another protest situation and not intimidating or interfering with witnesses.

“The situation at the mine remains quiet at the moment and the police are continuously monitoring the situation,” said Mulaudzi.

The men are expected back in court on March 18.

Protesting workers torched an Eskom vehicle and damaged a police vehicle during the protest on Thursday night.

Last month, Eskom temporarily closed the power station when contract workers went on strike.

Construction of the coal-fired power plant, set to be commissioned in 2015, was also interrupted when workers downed tools in September last year.

Mantu said Gigaba's intervention was to ensure that the power station is completed by its deadline.

“The minister is also aware that the parties would require time to consult with their constituencies and partners as part of refining the agreement towards a lasting solution, so that workers go back to work as soon as possible.” - Sapa


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