Heads must roll at Eskom, demand unions

NUM General Secretary Kolekile David Sipunzi speaks during a press conference at NUM House in Johannesburg on 31 July 2017. The conference was called to discuss recent retrenchments in the mining industry. Picture: Yeshiel Panchia

Nehawu believes that failure to act decisively undermines the spirit of the Thuma Mina campaign.

Amid fresh calls by two major Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) affiliates for the Eskom board to be disbanded and heads to roll, former chair of the embattled power utility Jabu Mabuza has gone to ground.

After several calls to establish what led to Eskom misleading President Cyril Ramaphosa about load shedding, Mabuza, who resigned last Friday, responded: “I am not available to comment.”

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) have joined a chorus of those calling for a leadership reshuffle at the state-owned enterprise (SOE).

Said NUM general secretary David Sipunzi: “NUM reiterates its call to have the entire Eskom board disbanded and immediately replaced by competent men and women who will place the interests of the country and its people before anything else.

“… Mabuza and his board misled President Ramaphosa when they presented a false report committing that there won’t be any load shedding until mid-January 2020. But that promise never materialised…”

Should the board fail “to volunteer to resign”, the union would call on Ramaphosa to disband it.

“We also support the call by Cosatu for the president to hold (Public Enterprises Minister) Pravin Gordhan, responsible for the mess in the SOEs, to account,” said Sipunzi.

Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said: “When the Thuma Mina campaign was launched, it made promises that there would be transparency and accountability in how government is run.

“Nehawu believes that failure to decisively act against those who fail to deliver on their mandate undermines the spirit of the campaign and what it seeks to achieve.

“We [also] hold a strong view that Gordhan has not been doing a good job… Apart from twiddling his thumbs while Eskom crumbles, he has also allowed other SOEs to be … shambolically managed and haemorrhage money on a daily basis.”

– brians@citizen.co.za

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