Brian Molefe on Monday promised that Eskom would not be closing down four power stations in Mpumalanga and he wanted to “make progress” on the matter of the apartheid wage gap for the power utility’s employees.
This comes as Eskom confirmed in March that it would expedite plans to close four power stations in Mpumalanga, including the Arnot, Duvha and Komati power stations, in order to accommodate renewable independent power producers (IPPs).
“There has been a lot of comment about power stations closing down in Mpumalanga. We will not close down power stations in Mpumalanga,” Molefe said.
“As you will remember that, last year during our engagement, there were quite a number of issues that were put on the table. Some of it has been the problem of the apartheid wag gap. I am sure that we are going to make progress in addressing that problem.”
Molefe said this while addressing an impromptu meeting called by hundreds of Eskom staff at Megawatt Park on Monday to welcome him back as the group’s chief executive.
According to videos and images posted by Eskom on its official social media pages, hundreds of jubilant Eskom staffers carrying posters written “Welcome back Papa Action” sang Molefe’s praises as they welcomed him back to the power utility.
Molefe is nicknamed “Papa Action” by Eskom staff. He could be seen in the video dancing along to the songs.
When Molefe resigned in November last year, tearful Eskom staff also called an impromptu meeting, demanding that he withdraw his resignation.
Molefe addressed employees with three key messages, telling staff that Eskom would continue to keep the lights on to power the economy and roll out the electrification program.
“We will also continue to ensure we complete the new build programme, namely Medupi and Kusile. Ingula is fully operational,” Molefe said.
“We must go through this winter with minimal electricity incidences. All of us must react very promptly where we experience problems during winter. And we must continue with the new build programme to ensure South Africa has the electricity it needs to grow,” Molefe said.
“Because with growth comes jobs, and with jobs comes the possibility of reducing unemployment. Thank you very much for the warm welcome. We will be going to the rest of the organisation all over the country, talking to the workers and finding what the problems are.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Congress of the People (Cope) staged a demonstration outside the Megawatt Park gates in protest at Molefe’s reinstatement as Eskom chief executive.
The DA said it would be filing an urgent interdict at the North Gauteng High Court in a bid to stop Molefe’s reappointment.
Molefe’s return to Eskom sparked widespread outrage among political parties and civic organisations, which over the weekend said the move reversed government’s commitment to fight corruption because he was implicated in the Public Protector’s “State of Capture” report.
– African New Agency (ANA)