Numsa joins court action against rolling blackouts

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Numsa is taking part in the litigation to compel the president, national government, minister of mineral resources and energy, Gwede Mantashe, Eskom board, and the National Energy Regulator of SA to account for load shedding. Photo: Archive
Numsa is taking part in the litigation to compel the president, national government, minister of mineral resources and energy, Gwede Mantashe, Eskom board, and the National Energy Regulator of SA to account for load shedding. Photo: Archive

NEWS


The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) is the latest to join the court action against government's failure to provide electricity. The union recently filed urgent court papers at the North Gauteng High Court to stop rolling blackouts, which are crippling the country's economy.

Numsa, which is the largest trade union in the country, is taking part in the litigation to compel the president, national government, the minister of mineral resources and energy, Gwede Mantashe, the Eskom board, and the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to account for its inability to keep the lights on. 

“The ANC-led government is not moving swiftly and decisively to stop the destructive rolling blackouts that are sabotaging the economy and our people. Load shedding is destroying jobs and the livelihoods of our people and it is killing patients in hospitals,” said Numsa in a statement. 

The multi-party court action includes the UDM, BuildOneSA, the Health and Allied Indaba Trade Union, the Soweto Action Committee, IFP, ActionSA, and SA Federation of Trade Unions, small businesses, political parties and other trade unions.  

READ: DA seeks urgent court interdict to block 18.65% tariff hike

Numsa slammed Eskom’s response to load shedding. During a press briefing at the weekend, the power utility said it would reduce load shedding to stage 2 or three for the next two years, while it attended to the power generation issues.  

“We condemn the board, the Eskom executive management and the shareholder, which is the ANC government for this mediocre response to an economic catastrophe.  In January 2018, we had excess power. But as we sit today, this government has destroyed Eskom to the extent where it cannot even keep the lights on for 24 hours,” the statement added.  

Numsa also intends to mobilise a rolling mass action to defend the country's energy sovereignty, and defend jobs and the economy.  

“We need to remind this government that ultimately, the power is in the hands of the working-class majority. We are hoping that the case will be heard on February 28.” 

Part of the demands of the application is to seek an urgent order from the court on the following: 

  • The state must stop load shedding in public hospitals, clinics and public schools, electronic communication networks, and any other networks necessary for mobile phone operation, all SAPS buildings, any entity responsible for the supply of water, and micro or very small businesses trading in perishable goods.   

  • We also want the courts to suspend the decision by Nersa to impose an 18.65% tariff increase.

  • The minister of public enterprises and Eskom are directed to produce a plan that explains the measures that they will immediately take to ensure compliance with their obligations under section 21(5) of the Electricity Regulation Act and to ensure that the supply of electricity is not terminated.

READ: A march against load shedding is pointless, say SA citizens

  • The department of public enterprises and Eskom must explain the steps they have taken, or will take to ensure the maintenance of Eskom power stations and to ensure the increase in their energy availability factor, in such a way that it ensures the uninterrupted supply of electricity.  

Numsa is also seeking a court order that declares that the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has failed to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the Bill of Rights. In addition to that, it is also seeking a court order that declares the failure of Eskom and the minister of public enterprises to ensure the provision of an uninterrupted and reliable power supply in terms of the Electricity Regulation Act. 

Last week, the DA filed an urgent court interdict to stop the implementation of the 18.65% electricity tariff increase approved by the energy regulator.


 

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