South African union federation opposes privatisation of national electricity utility


The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on Friday added its voice to the chorus for rejecting privsatisation of the national electricity utility Eskom. Eskom
COSATU “is perturbed” by reports on possibilities of selling part of Eskom’s equities, COSATU acting national spokesperson Ntai Mampane said.
Amid a worsening energy crisis, calls have emerged to privatise cash-strapped Eskom which provides more than 95 percent of the country’s electricity. The state-run parastatal has been under fire for constant rolling blackouts that have hit the country since November last year.
National Treasury Director General Lungisa Fuzile confirmed reports on Wednesday that the question as to whether portions of state-owned enterprises can be spun off to raise money “is on the table”.
“COSATU reiterates that privatization of Eskom is a wrong step to be taken and nationalization of strategic sectors of the economy such as energy is the only route to a sustainable growth path,” said Mampane.
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) have also voiced opposition to the privatisation of Eskom.
Mampane said electricity supply in South Africa must be a national responsibility of the state.
“The State must take direct responsibility towards strategic nationalization of key sectors and productive resources, and the move to ‘sell part’ of Eskom is contrary to such an action.”
The historical evolution of privatisation has many sad experiences in the eyes of the working class which resulted in massive job losses over many years, Mampane added.
Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown on Thursday dismissed the suggestion to privatise Eskom, saying she is not in favour of privatising basic services such as electricity.
But she did not rule out a strategic partner in some instances.
“I actually don’t really believe we should have privatization when it comes to basic services … (however) there are parts of what we own that could go to a strategic partner, but when it comes to basic services I am not in favour,” she explained. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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