NUM members marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over a memorandum against Eskom's plans to retrench workers. Picture: ANA

Pretoria - More than 100 National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members on Saturday marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over a memorandum protesting against Eskom's plans to retrench workers.

The marchers were joined by members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

On Wednesday, the state-owned power utility announced that it had already started the section 189 process to retrench workers, but only at executive management level. Eskom planned to retrench 7000 workers through voluntary severance packages over the next five years. The embattled company said it was the only way to save the company from collapse.

NUM president Joseph Montisetsi said government was misleading the country about jobs created through the Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (IPPs). The union believed IPPs would collapse Eskom.

"This is a second stage of state capture, because when you take private sector to benefit from government... it means you take people from outside to line up their pockets on the expense of the workers," he said.

Montisetsi insisted that the NUM was not opposed to renewable energy, but its introduction should be fair and not against the working class. "NUM is not against cleaner energy; cleaner energy must be independent and operate as an independent entity and compete with Eskom," he said.

Newly elected Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said the African National Congress defined itself as biased towards workers, but privatising state-owned enterprises (SoEs) was not biased towards the working class.

"Cosatu is side by side with NUM, side by side with all workers in this country. We are going to ensure that the decision and resolutions of [the ANC national conference at] Nasrec must be implemented by the ANC cabinet.

"Because we were there when those decisions were taken and we understand that when we rallied ourselves behind those resolutions were because they were pro-workers," she said.

African News Agency (ANA)