Picture: Neil Hall/Reuters
Johannesburg - Greenpeace Africa says it strongly condemns the urgent court interdict granted to Numsa to halt the signing of 27 Independent Power Provider (IPP) renewable energy contracts.

Minster of Energy Jeff Radebe was due on Tuesday to sign the approval of the contracts along with the power purchase agreement with Eskom.

But this plan was stopped by trade union Numsa and lobby group Transform South Africa when they were granted a late-night interdict by the High Court to halt the proceedings.

Greenpeace said the move by Numsa and Transform SA was clearly meant to sabotage renewable energy in favour of coal.

"We no longer live in a world where renewable energy should be viewed as a threat, and to do so, stands in the way of progress. The reality is that renewable energy creates new. sustainable opportunities that will grow the green economy and enable a just transition away from coal. A just transition is not a nice-to-have, it is imperative," said Greenpeace's political advisor Happy Khambule.

He said that coal is a dying industry that is constantly facing challenges and bleeding jobs.

Khambule said contrary to Numsa's argument that renewable energy would lead to job losses in the energy sector, renewable energy is actually creating new job opportunities.

"Claims made by Numsa that renewable energy will push up the price of electricity are clearly false: numerous studies have shown that renewable energy is the least cost electricity choice. It is inexplicable for Numsa to be defending and protecting the coal industry, which disproportionately exploits people and natural resources in pursuit of profits," said Khambule.

Numsa said, as the recognised trade union at Eskom, it wants to be given an opportunity to engage Eskom, Radebe and the National Energy Regulator of SA on the implications that the IPPs will bring to its members and their families.

The union argues that the renewable energy will drive up the price of electricity and lead to massive job losses in the coal sector as Eskom will likely close down many coal plants in favour of renewable energy.

The High Court is set to hear the case on March 27, the interdict has stopped Radebe from signing the contracts until the case brought by Numsa and Transform SA is heard.

Political Bureau