Yesterday, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) met with President Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister Pravin Gordhan and Minister Jeff Radebe in Johannesburg to discuss a way forward.
On Monday, 18 March 2019, the NUM met with President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was accompanied by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and Energy Minister Jeff Radebe at the union’s head offices in Johannesburg. The three-hour long meeting with the president and ministers came as a result of the resolutions that were taken earlier this month by thousands of aggrieved Eskom workers.
During the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in early February 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that Eskom would be divided into three units, namely; generation, transmission and distribution. This division, known as unbundling, meant that each unit would be able to source its own funding. It also meant that the transmission and distribution units would be able to deal with future roles in the power sector independently, which would enable them to identify and address urgent needs without being obscured by the generation sector, which faces a flood of challenges.
This announcement left Eskom employees concerned, as they did not know how the unbundling would affect their employment. The workers also expressed anger towards the leadership in government, who failed to explain what this announcement meant to the employees in terms of job security.
In an official media statement issued on Tuesday, 19 March 2019, the NUM said that yesterday’s meeting with the president was productive and brought an element of hope. Although there is hope, the union says the contents of the meeting still need to be discussed with the rest of the workers to conclude a way forward.
“Most importantly, the NUM is relieved after being assured by the President that no jobs will be lost in the process of unbundling, and that the power utility will remain 100% state owned. The President also assured the NUM that going forward, stakeholders will be taken along or consulted when major decisions are taken,” read the statement
The union also confirmed that the NUM Eskom members would still go ahead with their planned march to the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House, scheduled for 30 March 2019.