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Eskom execs committed crimes against humanity - Cosatu

Jun 24 2015 16:49
Ahmed Areff, News24

Johannesburg - The management of Eskom and all its executives have committed crimes against humanity and deserve to be in jail, Cosatu said on Wednesday.

Congress of South African Trade Unions Gauteng secretary Dumisani Dakile told a National Energy Regular of SA (Nersa) panel in Johannesburg that it is government's responsibility to ensure the financial sustainability of Eskom, and that as a state-owned enterprise Eskom has a huge "developmental mandate" that it is failing to fulfil.

"We are just making ourselves a laughing stock. We can't call ourselves a developmental state if we can hardly keep the lights on as a country," he said.

"If we really were a developmental state, all these chief executives of Eskom and all the management of Eskom, they should have been taken to prison... because of the inefficiencies they are creating in the country.

"We can't allow this thing to happen. In fact this is (a) crime against humanity, what they are doing to ordinary people and citizens... and what do we do to them? We give them (golden) handshakes and bonuses."

The parastatal is applying for a 24.78% increase. It has already received a 12.6% increase, which would make up part of the 24.78%.

Dakile told Nersa that its hearings on the application are not "public" as it has said.

"We urge Nersa to go where people are, not here where only a few can go," he said.

"This thing of centralisation of public hearings denies the majority of people an opportunity for them to be able to express (their views).

"The operation of Nersa thus far is only for the elite... that is afforded an opportunity."

He also made reference to former Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona.

"The former Eskom CEO, who has been given a golden handshake... money that could be used for the tariffs... had indicated that at the heart of the challenge facing Eskom to keep the lights on was its failure over a period of time to maintain its plants.  

"Why should electricity consumers, part of the working class and poor, have to bear the brunt of Eskom inefficiencies?" he asked.

Eskom more inefficient than spaza shop owners

"People who are creating the crisis expect the poor and the working class  to come and save them. Even owners of spaza shops don't have as many inefficiencies as Eskom has.  

"We submit that if we cut by half the salary that is given to the new CEO and all of his executive members, that money will be able to be utilised efficiently, (rather) than for you to give Eskom the increase they are requesting."

He asked if more money is merely being pumped into Eskom's inefficiencies.

"Even if we can give them a 2 million percent increase they will not be able to resolve the crisis. We will still be in load shedding," he said.

"We must not even give them half a cent... They must go back and sort out the darkness that was created in Eskom."

Workers to blame for costly delays

Dakile was then questioned by the panel over claims that workers were to blame for delays in the construction of power stations through strikes, and that the quality of work done by workers in maintenance is poor.

He responded that workers are always to blame.

"I don't think that if we take you and give you some of the work those workers are doing, you can even survive for an hour. You will run away.

"And I will challenge you by the way so that we can prove this thing... so that you will have a taste. And we will check with you after and ask if you will be able to work under these conditions, and will you go on strike?" Dakile asked.

In terms of maintenance, he said some plants are "skorokoro" (on their last legs).

"You can maintain them today... (however) there is no guarantee that tomorrow we are not going to encounter problems - and that is because they were not maintained (before). And you want to blame workers that they are not maintained? Where was management when they were not maintained?" asked Dakile.

nersa  |  cosatu  |  eskom  |  electricity
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