Cosatu wants heads to roll at Eskom over load shedding

A Cosatu march (GALLO)
A Cosatu march (GALLO)

The Congress of South African Trade Unions has called for Eskom's senior management, plus the entire board, to be dismissed after Eskom announced stage two load shedding on Wednesday.

In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the trade union federation cited slammed the power utility for "haemorrhaging" money, among other things.

The beleaguered power utility has debts exceeding R440bn and suffered a net loss after tax of R21bn in the 2018/19 financial year. 

Last week Eskom chair and acting CEO Jabu Mabuza painted a gloomy picture of Eskom's finances, saying management was hard at work to revive as much of the entity as possible.

Cosatu called the standard of leadership at Eskom "mediocre", noting that load shedding is said to have contributed to the contraction of the economy by 3.2% in the first quarter of the year.

"The announced load shedding flies in the face of the commitment made by the Minister of Public Enterprises to the Presidential Working Committee meeting at Nedlac (National Economic Development and Labour Council) a mere week ago that Eskom is on top of the situation," the statement said.

It called for a public forensic audit of all Eskom expenses, including all coal contracts.

Cosatu further criticised the power utility for appointing board chair Mabuza as acting CEO, calling the appointment "illegitimate", and saying the decision had "contributed to the erosion of trust in the power utility". 

Earlier this week, President Cyril Ramaphosa said government would announce its plan to deal with Eskom's debt in the next few days.

"I think Moody's and others will be happy with the announcements made," he said at the time.

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