Ernest Wolmarans
1 minute read
13 Mar 2014
6:00 am

Don’t privatise Eskom – Cosatu

Ernest Wolmarans

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has rejected calls for the privatisation of power utility Eskom, saying the national service needed to focus on providing secure and affordable power to the people and industry, rather than on profit margins.

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Despite reiterating its 2008 statement during rolling blackouts that load shedding was “a serious national embarrassment that could impact severely on economic growth and job creation”, Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said privatisation was not the answer.

“As Cosatu explained in 2008, the crisis which exploded then and continues today, was the result of government’s misguided attempt in the late nineties to prepare Eskom for privatisation.”

He said the trade union federation did not blame Eskom as the utility had, since before 2008, repeatedly requested additional funding for new power stations – requests that fell on deaf ears until former President Thabo Mbeki apologised after the 2008 crisis.

“At the time, government was set on privatising public utilities, and selling them off to the highest bidder. This made Eskom inefficient,” Craven said.

A focus on maximising profits would supercede a secure and affordable power supply, he said, leaving but one alternative: give Eskom the captial needed to “end the crisis as quickly as possible”.