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Numsa 'smells a rat' at Eskom

Numsa says Eskom should 'open its books for public scrutiny' and also wants an inquiry into its operations.

FILE: Numsa says Eskom should 'open its books for public scrutiny' and also wants an inquiry into its operations. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) says it plans to meet with Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown and Eskom's board to demand an inquiry into the operations at the parastatal.

The union has also called on the power utility to open its books for public scrutiny, saying it smells a rat through the recent recycling of the power utility's board members.

The union has held a meeting at its headquarters in Johannesburg to report back on the outcomes of its central committee meeting which was held this week.

Numsa's General-Secretary Irvin Jim says they're also against the appointment of Eskom's acting chair, Ben Ngubane.

"During his tenure as SABC board chairperson, the SABC was looting millions of rands. What is this patronage that allows such a discredited man to be put in such a leadership position, in such a vital organisation when it's in a crisis?

Numsa also demanded that companies pay their workers in full with no deductions whatsoever due to load-shedding.

A number of issues have been tabled including load shedding, the latest xenophobic attacks and the battles within Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

Numsa said it rejected the implementation of load shedding which would ultimately lead to many workers losing their jobs.

Jim said Eskom's leadership should be called to account.

"We need a credible and repute inquiry into Eskom. To be credible such an inquiry must include all the major constituencies."

ESKOM FINANCES

Eskom's new acting CEO Brian Molefe insisted that Eskom's financial position wasn't as bad as they seemed and said the power utility's problems could be solved.

Molefe, who along with members of the Eskom board and top executives briefed Members of Parliament and the media in Cape Town said the campaign to save electricity should continue well beyond the current energy crisis.

He said the country must reduce its reliance on coal, which is currently the source of more than 80 percent of energy supply, and that reduced demand for electricity will also help Eskom's bottom line.

"In fact, if there's less electricity required our cost will also come down, because we will not burn as much coal and burn as much primary sources for electricity. It's not about the profitability of Eskom is about the sustainable way of providing electricity."

The acting Eskom CEO said the power utility is now focused on finding ways to do maintenance on its aging fleet of generators without load shedding.

He said an extra 3,000 megawatts is needed to close the gap between peak demand and available power when plants are shut down for maintenance and others break down unexpectedly.

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