Numsa hits out at Gordhan over talk of unbundling Eskom

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa has hit out at proposals to unbundle Eskom, reiterating it will resist all attempts to either break up the struggling power utility or privatise it. 

Numsa is one of three recognised trade unions at Eskom, together with the National Union of Mineworkers and Solidarity.

In a statement on Thursday Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim said the union had not been consulted for its views on unbundling Eskom.

He was responding to remarks made by Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan at a business discussion with Business Unity South Africa earlier in the week.

At the event Gordhan said government would be debating the unbundling of Eskom "soon". 

This idea of unbundling Eskom has been proposed by energy experts like Chris Yelland and the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse as part of a broader strategy to fix the debt-laden power utility. The idea generally involves breaking Eskom up into separate electricity generation and electricity transmission entities. 

In July 2018 ANC treasurer general Paul Mashatile told the Cape Town press club Eskom could be broken up in the three entities: production, transmission and distribution.

Jim on Thursday criticised Gordhan for not engaging labour on the future of Eskom.

"We are the most important stakeholder at Eskom because we represent workers and nothing has been communicated to us on the future of the SOE," he said. 

"Our members read these reports and they are understandably alarmed because there has been no consultation with labour on Eskom’s future. They have every reason to be worried because Eskom recently embarked on retrenchments of senior managers in December, without informing or consulting union."