NUM and NUMSA picketed outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park’s headquarters in Johannesburg in opposition to the privatisation and unbundling of the troubled utility. Picture: Itumeleng English African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) on Wednesday picketed outside Eskom’s Megawatt Park’s headquarters in Johannesburg in opposition to the privatisation and unbundling of the troubled utility.

The two unions also called for the removal of Pravin Gordhan from his cabinet position as Minister of Public Enterprises, the government department which plays an oversight role on Eskom. 

Nehawu is another union that has called for Gordhan’s sacking as Public Enterprises Minister. The union claimed that he had not done a good job in his deployment by the government. 

“Apart from twiddling his thumbs while Eskom crumbled, he has also allowed other state owned enterprises to be in a perpetual state of disarray. The majority of SOE’s are shambolically managed and haemorrhage money on a daily basis,” said Nehawu General Secretary Zola Saphetha. 

In their joint memorandum to Eskom the NUM and Numsa said that their workers under Eskom's employ demanded that the unbundling and "relinking" of Eskom be stopped with immediate effect.

"We fully support the national call that Pravin Gordhan must step down as the minister of Public Enterprises and all his current members of the board to be removed, including the Chief of Staff Lwanda Zingitwa and COO Jan Oberholzer," the memorandum read. 

Amongst the other demands was that Eskom be run by "credible and knowledgeable managers not politicians".

"We demand that labour be represented in the decision-making processes in the Eskom Board and executive committee.

"We also reject Independent Power Producers (IPPs) with all the contempt it deserves because they are crippling Eskom and the economy of South Africa in that they are being generated and  sold by the private companies to Eskom at R4.04 and Eskom has to sell to the public for  R0.83 thereby resulting in a huge financial loss for Eskom and the public has to pay for the  difference as well," read the joint memorandum. 

NUM and Numsa also acknowledged that they were aware of the fact that the financial recovery process of fraudulent activities was in implementation. 

"Non-payment of debt to Eskom by municipalities is crippling the economy of South Africa and we demand that the chief executive and his new board ensure that monies owed by municipalities be collected with immediate effect, including monies owed by SADC countries such as Zimbabwe and all other government entities that owe Eskom," the two unions said.

They also claimed that workers performance bonus criteria had been amended without them being consulted as unions and they demanded that the previous criteria used be reinstated with immediate effect. 

"We demand that proper Human Resources processes be followed, for example in recruitment. Jan Oberholzer was hired by Eskom while there was a moratorium and 40 executive managers were hired without following Eskom internal recruitment policies and processes and we say this must stop with immediate effect," the NUM and NUMSA demanded.

Public Enterprises spokesperson Richard Mantu could not be reached for comment and did not respond to questions sent to him via text. 

Political Bureau