Residents of townships around the Kusile Power Station in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga said they are sick and tired of Eskom officials using the name of the Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan to deny them jobs at the power station.
The residents of communities surrounding the power station said they were sick and tired of being unemployed when Eskom was employing people from other provinces.
Community members blocked Eskom staff from entering the grounds of the power station. Police had to be called in to put the situation under control.
The Star spoke to community representative Nqobile Mazibuko, who said the community was looking for business opportunities and a chance to make a living through the activities of the power station.
“When we approach Eskom, we are told that the Minister of Public Enterprises is the one that is giving directives in who is hired and we are tired of hearing that,” Mazibuko said.
She said Eskom at Kusile was creating a narrative that black people from surrounding communities were not good enough to be employed at Eskom.
“We are disgusted and it’s painful and we have told ourselves that we would rather be killed by guns than be killed by poverty,” Mazibuko said.
According to Mazibuko, Kusile was concentrated by workers who came from other towns and in some cases from Gauteng who travelled all the way to Mpumalanga.
“We have he ability to also render services to Eskom, we are just asking for a chance to prove ourselves as community members from this area,” she said.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said Eskom was aware of the complaints by the community. He said the community should direct their complaints to the relevant place.
“I am aware of a protest by some community members at Kusile. This power station like other Eskom power stations has a community forum which deals with economic and employment opportunities which may from time to time be available at the power station,” Mantshantsha said.
Meanwhile, Eskom had announced plans to place the country under load shedding stage 2. The power utility cited capacity generation as the reason for the move to stage 2.
A few weeks ago the country was plunged into stage 8 load shedding after a wild cat strike at several Eskom power stations.