Zwelinzima Vavi addresses NUM and Numsa members march to the Union Buildings at the weekend to protest against Eskom's contracts with independent power producers. Jacques Naude African News Agency ANA)
WORKERS affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and National Union Mineworkers (NUM) have threatened to stage a sit-in at Energy Minister Jeff Radebe’s office if he fails to meet them by the end of the week.

Unionists took to the streets on Saturday, marching from Burgers Park to the Union Buildings, where they delivered their demands to Radebe.

The workers were, however, disappointed by the absence of the minister and refused to hand over the memorandum to two senior department officials assigned to receive it.

Both unions were united in their call for heads to roll at Eskom and want chief exective Phakamani Radebe and the entire board to go.

They accused Radebe and the board of deliberately collapsing the parastatal, claiming that Eskom’s contracts with independent power producers (IPPs) threatened workers' jobs.

NUM president Joseph Montisetsi said: “Today he (Radebe) belittled us. He can’t even come to receive a memorandum from us. We respect the officials, but we never voted for the officials. We will not hand over the memorandum to officials.”

He said the union would give Radebe three days to schedule a meeting with Cosatu, Numsa and NUM to discuss the memorandum. Failure by Radebe to do so would leave them with no choice but to “fight to his office by making a sit-in in his office”.

Montisetsi said the joint march was important to demonstrate the unity of workers.

“We can’t allow us to be divided. The workers in this country must unite and the government in this country must know that they are in power because of the workers.

"We are not going to agree that Eskom must be handed over to IPPs. After, all what is the IPP? It the same people who undermine us,” he said.

Montisetsi said that if the government was not going to listen to workers’ pleas, there would be a mass strike in February next year to “stretch until the government comes back to its senses”.

Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi said: “We are saying to Radebe that you are a Cabinet minister deployed by the ANC. In Nasrec, there is no resolution of the ANC that talked about privatisation of state-owned enterprises.”

General secretary of South African Federation of Trade Unions Zwelinzima Vavi said it was important for the NUM and Numsa to show "unity on the ground to fight the common struggle against Eskom".

“These fellows, including the ones who pretend to be our friends, have one agenda and the agenda is to hollow out Eskom. Their agenda is to weaken Eskom,” he said.