Clean, cost effective energy is SA's right, says Radebe after IPP ruling

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Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe. (Photo: GCIS)
Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe. (Photo: GCIS)

Cape Town - The Department of Energy will continue to champion the right of South African consumers to have access to cost efficient and clean energy, according to Minister of Energy Jeff Radebe.

Radebe welcomed the ruling of the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday to reject an urgent application to interdict the signing of 27 outstanding renewable independent power producer (IPP) projects.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Transform RSA lodged an urgent application on March 12 2018 for an order interdicting Eskom from concluding the twenty-seven IPP projects, including the Power Purchase Agreements with Eskom.

Judge Dawie Fourie ruled that the application was not urgent, and struck the case from the roll with costs.

Numsa’s legal counsel Advocate Nazeer Cassim had argued that the signing of the IPPs could be viewed as a form of economic looting, Fin24 reported.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile 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.

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Pasiwe earlier said the power utility is not in a position to speculate over job losses, adding 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 27 IPP projects are expected to create over 61 600 jobs and draw investment worth R56bn to the economy, according to the energy department.

The Department of Energy said in a statement that it will continue to champion the objectives of the national development plan to reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality.

This, is said, would be achieved through programmes that bring much-needed investment in South Africa to create jobs, especially for women and the youth, as well as small business entrepreneurial opportunities in rural communities.

"This will also ensure opportunities for economic transformation and access to (the) mainstream economy," said the department.

"The government of South Africa reconfirms its commitment to a solid public-private partnership as we pursue our energy transition objectives for the future, as well as a better life for all." It added that Radebe will make an announcement on the way forward "in due course".

Hlubi told Fin24 after the court ruling that Numsa will study the judgment to decide if it wants to pursue the matter further.

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