Around 1,700 Exxaro employees could lose jobs

Eskom announced last year that it would not renew its 40 year contract with Exxaro mine.

Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Trade Union Solidarity says 1,700 Exxaro employees could still lose their jobs after Eskom announced last year that it would not renew its 40-year contract with the mine.

Eskom says it's not happy with the quantity of coal from the mine and is now seeking new bidders, which will be announced by the end of next month.

Solidarity deputy general secretary Deon Reyneke says it seems the contract could be going to Optimum, which is owned by the Gupta family.

"Exxaro did place a plan to Eskom to get the coal cheaper but Eskom didn't look at that plan. We are concerned and the relationship between Eskom and the Guptas is influencing this whole thing."

However, Eskom's Khulu Phasiwe says while Optimum is one of the seven companies supplying coal in the interim, the parastatal will not announce any of the potential bidders.

"Optimum is one of the short term contractors that is supplying coal. Believe it or not, there are seven companies supplying coal but no one wants to believe that."