The EFF has released a statement rejecting claims by struggling power utility Eskom that South Africa is suffering from coal shortages.
The party alleges the parastatal is using a “fictional shortage of coal” as an excuse for using independent power producers (IPPs).
According to the EFF, these power producers sell hugely marked-up electricity to the power utility. The party cites the figure of R2.22 per kilowatt, claiming the utility then sells the electricity to users for only 89c, or less in the case of corporations.
These power producers have entered into a 20 year long deal with Eskom, who are now forced to fake a coal shortage to justify this, the statement says.
“Eskom has admitted that IPPs are a liability to the utility, and can only serve to destabilise the financial crisis confronting the strategic asset,” it continues.
The party says coal producers in Mpumalanga and other parts of the country are sitting with stockpiles of coal, which Eskom is ignoring because they want to keep handing over power generation capabilities to these private companies.
The EFF then makes the claim that the “deployees of white monopoly capital on the Eskom board” are to give to people like businessman Johan Rupert.
Rupert mentioned in his now notorious Power FM interview earlier this week, that he owns a hydropower producer that is not plugged into the grid, and the EFF believes that through manufacturing a coal shortage, Eskom is attempting to “give space” to Rupert and people like him.
Load shedding, the party says, is being used as a “mechanism to justify capitalist greed”.
The statement ends with an assertion that the Eskom debacle shows that state capture in South Africa continues, and that president Cyril Ramaphosa is perpetuating it.
If he continues on the “Zuma path”, the party says, he will be forced to “fall on his sword” in the same manner as his predecessor.
Economic Freedom Fighters rejects ESKOM’s claim of coal shortages. pic.twitter.com/jqbIVvjPvN
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) December 6, 2018
A story in News24 on Wednesday suggests the EFF may have a point about the coal shortage.
According to the CEO of the Middelburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Anna Marth Ott, there is indeed no shortage, and uncollected coal is piling up at the mines.
The use of IPPs has also been questioned by organisations other than the EFF, with National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) among those unions who have protested against it.
According to NUM deputy president Philip Vilakazi, when the public was told there was surplus electricity and that there was a drop in sales, the department of energy forced Eskom to sign Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with the IPPs even when Eskom indicated the country could not afford them. This may be what the EFF are referring to in their statement.
The theory about Johan Rupert, however, appears to be entirely the party’s own.
(Additional reporting by ANA)