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Blocking IPP signing a 'delay tactic' nothing more - Yelland

15 March 2018

This comes after 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 on Monday night seeking an urgent court application to block Eskom from concluding the 27 renewable energy projects, which include power purchase agreements - pending the finalisation of the case.

In what came as a relief to the renewable energy industry last week, energy minister Jeff Radebe announced the long-awaited 27 renewable energy independent power producer (IPP) projects will finally be signed on Tuesday.

The Ramaphosa government however announced that it will proceed with the signing as well as the other renewable projects and the Eskom cap would not apply.

Radebe however dismissed the interdict claim by Numsa saying, "after arguments were concluded, the court refused to grant an interim interdict against Eskom or the minister but instead postponed the matter to March 27".

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Numsa said, as the recognised trade union at Eskom, it wants to be given an opportunity to engage Eskom, Radebe and the National Energy Regulator of SA on the implications that the IPPs will bring to its members and their families. "The reports in the media that an interdict was granted are therefore not true", the minister explained.

"Numsa believes that the signing of these contracts would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole", the union said in an emailed statement, referring to a coal-rich province that has many power plants. In his response, Radebe said nothing prevented Eskom and IPPs from signing the agreements.

He said that coal is a dying industry that is constantly facing challenges and bleeding jobs.

Eskom is to close several coal-fired power stations that will result in thousands of job losses, but this was in no way linked to the utility signing agreements to buy electricity from independent power producers, the Department of Energy has said.

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"The IPP roll out will raise the cost of electricity dramatically, because IPPs cost much more than coal-fired electricity".

South Africa can not fight the move towards renewable power, energy expert Chris Yelland said on Tuesday. "The combination of all these factors will have dire consequences for the working class and the poor".

NUMSA is not only trying to prevent the inevitable, but they are also trying to keep South Africa in bondage to expensive and polluting means of generating power.

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Blocking IPP signing a 'delay tactic' nothing more - Yelland