Pretoria – More than 100 members of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Saturday marched to Union Buildings in Pretoria to submit a memorandum protesting Eskom's plan to detain workers.
The demonstrators joined members of the South African Trade Union (Cosatu) Congress and the National Association of Metalworkers in South Africa (Numsa).
On Wednesday, state-owned electric utilities announced that they had started part 189 of the process to reduce workers, but only at the executive management level. Eskom plans to hold 7,000 workers through voluntary severance packages for the next five years. The fighting company said it was the only way to save the company from destruction.
NUM president Joseph Montisetsi said the government misled the country about jobs created through the Independent Electric Producer Procurement Program (IPP). Unions believe that the IPP will destroy Eskom.
"This is the second stage of state arrest, because when you take the private sector to benefit from the government … that means you take people from outside to grab their bags at the expense of the workers," he said.
Montisetsi insisted that NUM was not opposed to renewable energy, but its introduction must be fair and not contrary to the working class. "NUM does not fight cleaner energy; cleaner energy must be independent and operate as an independent entity and compete with Eskom," he said.
The newly elected Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi said the African National Congress defined itself as a bias towards workers, but the privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) was not biased towards the working class.
"Cosatu is side by side with NUM, side by side with all the workers in this country. We will ensure that the decisions and resolutions from [the ANC national conference at] Nasrec must be carried out by the ANC cabinet.
"Because we were there when the decision was taken and we understood that when we united behind the resolution it was because they were pro-workers," he said.
Africa News Agency (ANA)