Johannesburg - The Independent Liberation and Allied Workers Union (ILAWU) has slammed the attempts of the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) to “trivalise efforts by black businesses participating in the area of power generation".
This follows Outa's opposition to independent power generation company Karpowership SA's National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa)’s application.
"ILAWU has for the longest time been calling on the government to try other means of energy production to alleviate pressure from the ailing state power producer Eskom. These alternative ways of alleviating pressure from Eskom includes nuclear and hydro-energy generation. Just when we are to be liberated from the blackouts, there is resistance." Siphamandla Masimula, the union's Secretary General said.
ILAWU said that it was of the view that the resistance against alternative energy creation is politically motivated and the fight against Karpowership is based on Outa preferring a different power producer to Kapowerahip SA.
"If the Outa opposition to Karpowership's Nersa application was genuine, they would have fought the government's failure to stabilise Eskom and the increasing job losses. Power outages have brought in pain and poverty. Businesses have collapsed because of these power outages and breadwinners have lost jobs in the process. We, a progressive voice of the marginalised workers, want to stop these power outages, and we call on Nersa not to fall for this political ploy.
In a recently issued statement outlining their support for Karpowership SA, the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc) acting president Gilbert Mosene lamented the opposition the company is facing on the environmental front. Mosene wrote to environmental minister Barbara Creecy appealing that she reconsider the decision made by officials in her department to not grant environmental licenses to the power producer.
“Karpowership SA has committed to spending substantial amounts both during their construction period and operations, whilst in the process creating hundreds of jobs. It is clear that a rejection of these projects will be the death knell for immediate economic development and job creation in the country and certainly impact our continued ability to attract foreign investments,” Mosena said.
Adding to tensions, the West Coast Black Business Alliance (WBBA) has slammed the government's poor handling of the power crisis in the country, demanding an end to load shedding, while calling for opportunities for African coastal communities to come up with solutions to the power crisis.
The spokesperson described load shedding as a national embarrassment that has resulted in many businesses losing money because of power outages.
The group also called for transparency in dealing with independent power producers (IPPs). There have been moves to block the independent power-producing ships. The power ships are expected to boost maritime economies and black coastal business.
"We demand an end to load shedding. We appreciate the government’s acknowledgement that Eskom and load shedding have become a complete national crisis,“ said spokesperson Sammy Claasen.
“In fact, this crisis has become one of our biggest national challenges and embarrassments to our country. Our country and economy cannot afford to continue losing tens of billions of rands per month due to the Eskom crisis and national grid.
Nersa is expected to make a decision in the next few days.