Union blocks signing of government deals with IPPs

Union blocks signing of government deals with IPPs

Numsa says it believes the signing of these contracts would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole.

"The court found that our application meets the standard for urgency and therefore granted us the interdict", Numsa said in an emailed statement.

The South African government has faced a new obstacle to the planned signing of 27 delayed renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs), as local organisations have turned to the high court with a request for an urgent interdict.

Numsa estimates that the closure of Eskom's power stations as a result of the renewable projects would affect at least 30,000 families.

Despite the court being unable to raise a legal reason why the contracts could not be signed on 13 March, "the signing will however be postponed until 27 March 2018 when the matter is finally disposed of in Court".

Radebe's comments follow a decision by the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) and non-governmental organisation Transform RSA's decision to approach the High Court in Pretoria.

Numsa also claims the IPP rollout will cause a dramatic spike in the price of electricity because IPPs are more costly than coal-fired power plants.

"Electricity prices will skyrocket because of the IPP roll-out; while at the same time that Value-Added Tax and the fuel price are going up, workers are being paid slave wages of R20 per hour and less".

Nonetheless, this is despite a recent report by the CSIR stating renewables are way cheaper than fossil fuels. The 27 projects include wind, solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies. The more one does it, the more expensive it gets. Eskom uses coal for about 90 per cent of its generation.

It was not immediately clear how long that could take, or what the next move by the South African energy department will be as it attempts to put the issue to bed.

"In the absence of an interdict, and with the court having expressly informed the parties in court that it would not grant such an order, nothing prevented Eskom and IPPs from signing the agreements, as scheduled by me for 13 March 2018". The country's power mix has always been dominated by coal.

She points out that as has been demonstrated through three competitive bidding rounds, the renewable energy industry is in a strong position to contribute to the South African economy through job creation, advancing the transformation agenda, improving rural livelihoods and attracting foreign direct investment.

Eskom was planning to sign these agreements despite the fact that a previous application, by the Coal Transporters Forum to interdict them from signing is still pending at the North Gauteng High Court.

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