The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) on Friday threw its weight behind Eskom in its battle with the diversified resources group Exxaro over black economic empowerment (BEE) policy.
This comes after Exxaro’s shareholders, the largest black-owned company in the country and Eskom’s biggest coal supplier, approved a transaction that would result in its black ownership declining from 50 percent to 30 percent.
Eskom’s coal procurement policy requires all mines that supply coal to its power stations to have a black ownership target of more than 50 percent throughout the lifespan of the mine.
Speaking on behalf of the ANCYL, spokesperson Mlondi Mkhize said in a statement that Eskom’s policy was enabling the attainment of economic freedom.
Mkhize said if Exxaro refused to reverse their black shareholding, then Eskom should terminate its contract with it.
“We call on Eskom to terminate services of Exxaro if they refuse to honour this request. We cannot be a nation that gets excited by the mere fact that these huge establishments provide indecent work for our nation without giving us shares and stakes as the youth and South Africans,” Mkhize said.
“This arrogance from private capital does nothing, but validates the ANCYL’s view of nationalising mines and other strategic sectors of the economy, for the benefit of all South Africans.”
Mkhize said Eskom’s demand should be extended to all service providers who are giving services to the power supplier, as they continue to explore ways of ending outsourcing and over reliance on service providers.
“The ANCYL wants to encourage Eskom to continue with this progressive demand which is intended to transform our economy particularly and ensure the participation of black people in the mainstream economy,” Mkhize said.
“The ANCYL is of the view that Eskom should, in fact, demand nothing below 60/40 ownership so as to allow a 40 percent stake of the youth.”
The Economic Freedom Fighters has also urged Eskom not to “retreat on the demand that Exxaro must be empowered at a minimum of 51 percent”.
Eskom has announced that it was planning to hold a meeting with Exxaro about its decline in black ownership after the power utility’s acting chief executive, Matshela Koko, voiced his displeasure.
– African News Agency (ANA)