Cosatu, NUM threaten protests over reported Eskom restructuring plan

A task team set up to help stabilise the cash-strapped power utility is reportedly proposing splitting the company up into three state-owned entities responsible for power generation, distribution and transmission.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Eskom is being warned not to follow through with its plans to restructure the organisation, with unions saying that it will lead to job cuts.

Government is debating whether to split up the power utility to make it financially viable.

A task team set up to help stabilise the cash-strapped power utility is reportedly proposing splitting the company up into three state-owned entities responsible for power generation, distribution and transmission.

But unions are against this, with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the National Union Mineworkers (NUM) threatening protests.

The NUM's Tshilidzi Mathabha says: "The reality of the matter is that there will be no job creation in the new system. Here in Mpumalanga, we’ve got four to five that are to be closed down, so where are we going to have job creation if we’re going to close down the power stations?"

But energy expert Chris Yelland says that if Eskom turns its financial situation around it will, in fact, create jobs.

"We’ve got to prepare for the future; we’ve got to prepare for the energy transition, for reskilling, redeploying and the opportunity for new job creation of very significant and much more than the job losses in the old industry."

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)