UNION BLOCKS SOUTH AFRICAN RENEWEABLE ENERGY PROJECTS FOR FEAR OF LOSS OF COAL MINING JOBS

PRETORIA– The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has obtained a court order to block the signing of agreements for 27 renewable energy projects developed by independent power producers as it believes this will adversely affect the jobs of coal miners in the country.

The union made the statement after the Pretoria High Court granted an urgent interdict here Tuesday preventing Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and national power utility Eskom from signing the multi-billion rand agreements with the independent power producers (IPPs).

Numsa said the signing of the IPP agreements means that Eskom will require less coal-fired electricity and that this is likely to lead to the closure of the coal-fired power plants and the impact will be that at least 30,000 working class families will suffer because of job losses.

It argues that electricity from renewable sources will cost much more than that generated by coal-fired plants, and will therefore disadvantage the poor.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says apart from costing about 30,000 jobs at coal mines, the move towards renewable energy will hurt poorer people.

“The IPP roll-out will raise the cost of electricity dramatically, because IPPs cost much more than coal-fired electricity. The ANC (African National Congress) government clearly wants to make the working class and the poor suffer even more than they do now. Electricity prices will skyrocket because of the IPP roll-out.”

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