Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba has intervened to broker peace talks at the site of Eskom’s Medupi power station, where construction workers have downed tools since last month.

Gigaba believed it was critical to stabilise the situation and for employees to return to work immediately as “further delays will have an adverse impact on the economic development of the country”, his department said yesterday.

Eskom was prompted to temporarily halt work at the site in Lephalale, Limpopo, last month after construction staff, some of whom were National Union of Metalworkers of SA members, downed tools citing dissatisfaction over “incorrect bonuses”, the Financial Mail reported last week.

Eskom spokeswoman Hilary Joffe said the unrest “posed a material threat” to Medupi’s scheduled delivery of first power by year end.

Gigaba’s intervention was aimed at assisting the parties to collectively reach a negotiated settlement and lasting solution to the issues, his ministry said.

It added: “The minister is 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.” – Asha Speckman