Maimane: Save Eskom by privatising it

Leader of the Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane has reiterated previous calls to privatise Eskom.

Ahead of the president's address to the National Assembly on Thursday, Maimane and DA MP Natasha Mazzone, as well as Western Cape premier candidate Alan Winde, briefed journalists on the party's interventions for the Eskom crisis.

The power utility reintroduced load shedding this past week, due to technical issues at power stations.

Among the interventions proposed by the DA include the introduction of Independent Power Producers, to increase competition in the energy sector. Maimane said that government needs to fight opposition from labour unions.

"We cannot be held ransom by unions who insist they will go on strike should there be any move to privatise Eskom – that view would lead to job losses," he said.

Other interventions include a review of Eskom's contracts for diesel as a means to source diesel more cheaply, and to open up the coal procurement policy to allow more suppliers of coal in the energy sector.

As a medium-term intervention, government should move to privatise the generation entities of Eskom, Maimane said. "We are not apologetic about this.

"We need to privatise the generation entity of Eskom allow for diversification of energy to enter the grid."

He said diversifying the energy sector would create more jobs, not less.

In his response to Parliament, Ramaphosa said there were no intentions to privatise Eskom, and that the three entities would be split into – generation, transmission and distribution – would remain "100% state-owned."

Ramaphosa also said that he would be engaging with labour unions in the next few days about the way forward for Eskom.

"We have not done enough to bring key stakeholders such as labour on board on various aspects of this matter, but we are determined to correct this. As social partners and stakeholders, we have a common interest to find sustainable solutions to crisis at Eskom," he told Parliament.

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