Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Numsa obtains court interdict to block Eskom signing renewable energy deals

Numsa obtains court interdict to block Eskom signing renewable energy deals

Today was supposed to be the day South Africa's REIPPPP renewable energy programme got back on track, finalising PPAs for projects that had been left in limbo despite being offered deals as long ago as 2015 under tender rounds 3.5 and 4, after a long-running dispute with state utility Eskom put the entire process on hold.

"The court found that our application meets the standard for urgency and therefore granted us the interdict".

Asked by Fin24 on Tuesday for the union's reaction to the department's argument that there is no interdict, its spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said there was one.

NUMSA said the signing of these contracts "would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole".

In the absence of an interdict‚ and with the court having expressly informed the parties at court that it would not grant such an order‚ nothing prevented Eskom and IPPs from signing the agreements as scheduled by me for Tuesday‚ 13 March 2018.

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Numsa, which filed its application with civil society group, Transform RSA, estimates the closure of coal-fired power stations as a result of the renewable projects would affect at least 30,000 families.

The union said the IPP roll out would raise the cost of electricity dramatically "because IPP's cost much more than coal-fired electricity". The ANC government clearly wants to make the working class and the poor suffer even more than they do now.

The union noted that as a recognised trade union at Eskom it wanted the opportunity to make submissions to the energy regulator Nersa‚ Eskom and the energy minister on the IPP contracts and the implications for its members.

In terms of the interdict Radebe gave an undertaking that he would not sign the IPP agreements, including the power purchase agreements until the hearing on March 27.

According to the Department of Energy's statement, it was only given an hour's notice on Monday evening when Numsa and Transform RSA approached the high court with a joint urgent draft interdict prohibiting Eskom and the department from concluding the agreements. "They were attempting to impose this deal on us without consultation‚ but we stopped them‚" said Numsa. We call on all our members to join us in court to defend their families' and their livelihoods.

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