Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Communist Party (SACP) said on Wednesday that unbundling Eskom would not solve the power utility's challenges, likening this to the behaviour of alcoholics who deal with their problem by drinking still more alcohol.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced that Eskom would be split into three separate units - generation, transmission, and distribution - in a bid to restructure its balance sheet and help it raise money on capital markets more easily.  

Eskom is expected to post a R20.1 billion loss for the financial year to March from the R15 billion it forecast at the time of its mid-year results as a result of overall expenses widening during the period. 

The power utility faces the threat of collapse if it does not get a bailout by April this year.

In a statement supporting Cosatu's national day of action against retrenchments and call for decent work, the SACP said the discussion and proposals about saving Eskom from going under was mistaking the "right-wing and reactionary" idea of privatisation as the so-called solution. 

"As the SACP we want a holistic approach to the problem of the heavily indebted Eskom. The approach must be anchored in the objective of ensuring national energy security," it said. 

"While we cannot stand opposed to progressive measures that will improve the situation, save Eskom and ensure security of energy supply, there are principles we that wish underline."

The SACP said all proposed measures must be subject to consensus-seeking consultation and that it did not want hard working Eskom workers to be retrenched.

"These are some of the reasons why as the SACP we are behind Cosatu’s legally protected action against retrenchments and for employment creation."

The party said it wants Eskom in its entirety to remain wholly state owned, to expand state ownership in the field of clean and renewable energy, to improve operational efficiency and achieve optimum organisational effectiveness to serve the people.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Wednesday staged a national march against job losses and corruption, submitting memorandums at various government and business headquarters.

African News Agency (ANA)