NUM to Ramaphosa on Eskom: no job cuts, no division, shoot the board



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The National Miners' Union is against any plan to split the country's debt-to-energy utility because it will result in job losses.

There is "uncertainty" rather than job security at Eskom, said President Joseph Montisetse in an interview at his office in Johannesburg. The union, which has about 15,000 members at Eskom, says the company can return to profits by investing in coal mining, exporting the fuel and selling more electricity to its neighbors in South Africa.

Ramaphosa is expected to deliver his speech on the State of the Nation on Thursday and should unveil new measures to help Eskom. The president announced the plan to split the company into generation, transmission and distribution units in February. He also promised to avoid cutting jobs, despite Eskom having about 47,000 workers, a figure the World Bank said was 66 percent too high and a debt of at least $ 40 billion.

NUM is prepared to hear what Ramaphosa has to say in his speech, but so far "we are not happy with what the president has promised" in terms of job security, Montisetse said.

"We do not believe that separation could be a cure for this disease," he said. NUM wants a full bailout for the utility and a new board to make the business profitable again, he said.

Although Eskom said last year it would set a budget to return to a partial investment in coal mining, a third of the mills that will burn the fuel will be at the end of their useful life by 2023.

Montisetse said the seasons can be rebuilt to prolong their lives. "We can not agree that our members are cut off from work," he said. "We believe we need reliable management to hire even more people."

Ramaphosa met with Eskom board members in Cape Town earlier this week.

A statement from the presidency at the time said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe, and Public Enterprise Minister Pravin Gordhan were also present at the meeting at Genadendal Residence.

Ramaphosa called on ministers to establish alignment between the government on actions "to be undertaken to stabilize the utility in the light of its financial and operational challenges."

Eskom's board, meanwhile, submitted a report on the implementation of its nine-point plan to turn the energy utility into debt.

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