Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim. PHOTO: Siphelele Dludla / ANA

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said on Thursday that it has decided to embark on a rolling mass action through a declaration of Section 77 in defense of Eskom. 

The union called for unity of all workers across various sectors of the economy to take to the streets, including workers from NUM, SAFTU and Cosatu.

Numsa also said that its gripe with the independent power producers (IPP) programme was that there was no fair procurement process over their awarding.

The union also said that energy minister Jeff Radebe was "clearly conflicted" given his proximity to President Cyril Ramaphosa and billionaire businessman Patrice Motsepe. 

Radebe and Ramaphosa are both brothers-in-law to Motsepe who denied that his energy company stood to benefit in the IPP programme.

Numsa said it was demanding an independent commission to investigate the procurement process involved in the IPPs, in the interest of fairness for those who are conflicted or not conflicted.

The union is going to court on 18 and 19 March to oppose the signing of Bid Window 4, which will allow unsuccessful project bids from previous  windows to bid for 1,800 megawatt, after it teamed up with the Coal Transporters Forum last year.

Earlier, Numsa called for minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan to be dismissed immediately for his alleged role in the cost overruns at struggling power utility Eskom.

Numsa said the crisis at Eskom was a self-generated crisis caused by IPPs, inflated coal costs, a bloated top executive structure, tender corruption and cost overruns at Medupi and Kusile power stations.

The union is also opposed to the "unbundling" of the power utility as it offered no solution to the crisis and would do nothing to close the holes. 

Finance minister Tito Mboweni announced on Wednesday that government would not be taking over Eskom's bloated debt of R421 billion, but rather it would allocate R23 billion a year for the next three years to support Eskom's reconfiguration as it is being unbundled into three units.

African News Agency (ANA)