WATCH: We will continue to put pressure on Eskom, vows EFF
Johannesburg - Hundreds of EFF supporters and the party's leadership have started marching to Eskom's head office in MegaWatt Park to deliver a memorandum of demands to the crippled power utility.
EFF leader Julius Malema addressed supporters ahead of the march, which aims to highlight the party's unhappiness with Eskom. The main issues the party wants to be addressed was the continued load shedding that has gripped South Africans since January.
Eskom has implemented various stages of its load-shedding plan since the beginning of the year. Its leaders have cited poor supply from power stations for the power cuts and citizens have been warned that it could continue for the next 18 months.
The EFF wants the power utility not to prioritise the use of Independent Power Producers (IPPs) as it sees this as a form of privatising the state-owned entity.
One EFF supporter said he was tired of load shedding, which often compounded the crisis of poverty in his community.
"In my community, we suffer and we have children. Now we get load shedding and this makes us suffer. We work but we still suffer," he said.
The march is also being supported by the All Truck Drivers Association. The organisation said it decided to join the march because it has issues with how Eskom conducts its tender processes.
The organisation's Mandla Mgumezulu said black-owned truck businesses were often sidelined at Eskom, which advantages white-owned companies.
"We are supporting this march because as drivers we have our grievances with Eskom. Eskom is giving tenders to the white monopoly capital and some are not following labour laws.
"Jobs are being given to foreign nationals and we suffer. We are asking Eskom to only give (tenders) to companies that are complying with labour laws," Mgumezulu said.
The march has also seen the backing of the African Transformation Movement (ATM). The political party's head of policy, Mzwanele Manyi, said the party supported the EFF's efforts because it was also of the view that IPPs were a threat to Eskom's future.
"We are also worried about what is happening at Eskom. We are worried about the business case for Eskom that is now being undermined.
"We believe that IPPs reduce the revenue streams coming into Eskom. Eskom's revenue collection is being undermined and its ability to service its debt.
"This is a whole strategy to cripple Eskom. Eskom is going to be left with a poor customer base and unable to service its debt," Manyi explained.
The EFF's secretary-general, Marshal Dlamini, explained earlier that the party would not end its pressure on Eskom. He said it was important that grievances were heard and met.
"They are coming from all over Gauteng. Everyone is concerned about the state of Eskom. We believe Pravin Gordhan (minister of public enterprises) has failed at Eskom.
"We are taking our memorandum with our demands to the leadership of Eskom. We have timelines and they will be outlined. Ours is not a one-time event, we will continue to put pressure."