Unions block Eskom signing renewable energy deals

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Unions block Eskom signing renewable energy deals

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

The signing of 27 independent power producer contracts on Tuesday has been put on hold, after the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and Transform RSA managed to obtain a last-minute court interdict.

However, NUMSA and Transform RSA successfully launched a late night high court bid on Monday to urgently interdict Eskom from signing the 27 (IPP) contracts.

"The court found that our application meets the standard for urgency and therefore granted us the interdict".

The NUMSA injunction forced Radebe to agree that the renewable PPAs would not be signed until the issues raised had been subject to a full hearing by the court, according to a statement from the union.

Numsa, which represents thousands of workers, believes the signing of deals with independent power producers would be detrimental for the working class.

This is a victory for NUMSA.

Numsa, which filed its application with civil society group, Transform RSA, estimates the closure of coal-fired power stations as a result of the renewable projects would affect at least 30,000 families.

Two unions in South Africa have blocked the signing of renewable energy power purchase agreements claiming that doing so will lead to job losses from closed coal plants.

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

"However‚ counsel for the Minister informed the court that whilst there is no interdict granted‚ the signing will however be postponed until the 27 March 2018 when the matter is finally disposed of in court". The combination of all these factors will have dire consequences for the working class and the poor.

The union said it was demanding the opportunity to make submissions to National Energy Regulator of South Africa, Eskom and the Energy minister on the IPP contracts and the implications for our members and their families.

Eskom previously refused to sign the agreements with energy developers including Denham Capital-backed BioTherm Energy and ACWA Power International, saying they were expensive and that power from the projects wouldn't always be available. "What stopped them? It's because we stopped them", she said. We are confident that the court will recognize that our rights have been violated and will look favorably on our application.

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