NUM threatens to plunge SA ‘in

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Photo: Facebook/NUM

NUM threatens to plunge SA ‘into darkness’ if state unbundles Eskom

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) doesn’t want Eskom to be privatised.

NUM threatens to plunge SA ‘in

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Photo: Facebook/NUM

On Wednesday, 30 October 2019, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) threatened to cause more power cuts if government goes ahead with its decision to break up the struggling state power utility, Eskom.

NUM is one of the largest unions at Eskom and part of the Cosatu union federation aligned with the governing party. In a statement hey threatened:

“If these demands are not met we will shut down electricity generation, transmission and distribution, as such plunging the country into darkness.”

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM)

Plans to unbundle Eskom

If the power utility is unbundled it could lead to it being privatised. Eskom would be split into units for generation, transmission, and distribution.

On Tuesday, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan presented details of the plan which would also open up the power sector to greater competition.

DA condemns NUM’s threat

NUM’s announcement wasn’t received well by the Democratic Alliance’s (DAs) Member of Parliament (MP) and Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Kevin Mileham.

He condemned the statement calling it “a contemptible threat to the stability of our nation.” Mileham said NUM was trying to hold the nation, government, and the economy “to ransom.”

The MP added:

“It amounts to a threat to our national security. The DA expects that the ANC government should immediately condemn these threats of national sabotage as we have done.”

Kevin Mileham, DA MP and Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy

Load shedding costly for South Africa

Mileham felt that the union was failing to see the benefits that restructuring would have for Eskom. He stated how the power utility’s “failings” remained “the single biggest threat to our economy.”

The MP shared how each blackout cost the South African economy an estimated “R1 billion per day.” Mileham noted how economists and analysists have given a warning of a possible ratings downgrade on Friday.

The rating could see South Africa going back to “junk” status. The MP explained how NUM’s threats wouldn’t “inspire any confidence as that decision is made.”

The DA member added how the threats by the union were “not normal and nor should it ever be accepted as such.” He urged government to proceed with Eskom’s unbundling and not be “deterred by NUM’s alarmist and anarchic folly.”

Mileham revealed:

“Eskom cannot continue on its current trajectory. It needs a complete overhaul and must be split into a generation entity completely independent from a distribution/transmission entity to have any chance of survival.”

Kevin Mileham, DA MP and Shadow Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy

The DA’s Cheaper Electricity Bill

The DA’s MP also touted his party’s Cheaper Electricity Bill that was recently tabled in Parliament. He urged other politicians to support the bill which he said was “in the best interest of all South Africans.”

Eskom is responsible for more than 90% of South Africa’s electricity supply. This year, the country has been subjected to several rounds of power cuts due to unplanned outages at Eskom’s power stations.