Court rejects Numsa's urgent bid to block IPP signing

Cape Town – The high court has rejected an urgent application to interdict the signing of 27 outstanding renewable independent power producer (IPP) projects.

The North Gauteng High Court on Thursday struck the application by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Transform RSA from the roll, Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi confirmed to Fin24 by phone. The union will study the judgment to decide if it wants to pursue the matter further.

The matter was heard in court on Tuesday. Numsa’s legal counsel Advocate Nazeer Cassim argued that the signing of the IPPs could be viewed as a form of economic looting, Fin24 reported.

Hlubi told Fin24 that 30 000 jobs would be at stake if the IPPs were signed. This includes 6 000 workers at Eskom and other partners in the value chain. “We want to remind South Africans to force government to adhere to the Paris Agreement it signed.

“It means the transition in the form of energy from fossil fuels to renewables must not disadvantage communities and families. The signing of IPPs will do that.”

Hlubi said it is a significant problem and no solution has been created for it.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Pasiwe said the power utility is not in a position to speculate over job losses. He said that none of Eskom’s power stations would be closed if the renewable energy IPPs are incorporated.

“The current board of Eskom has not taken a decision to close power stations. We are not in a position to speculate what will happen in future,” he said.

The Department of Energy did not immediately respond to Fin24’s request for comment.

At a briefing earlier in March new Energy Minister Jeff Radebe said the signing of the IPPs has the full support of the president, Cabinet and Eskom.

The 27 projects are expected to create over 61 600 jobs and draw investment worth R56bn to the economy, according to the energy department.

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