Numsa's interdict a bid to sabotage renewable energy, says Greepeace Africa

Coal ash disposals in South Africa. The country's power mix has long been dominated by coal

"In a nutshell, these projects will provide 61 600 full-time jobs, of which 95% is for South African citizens, mostly during plant construction specifically with a focus on youth employment".

In the ruling, the court says: "The respondents will have circumvented the process which is now pending before court; and the applicants will have no choice but to institute applications to review and set aside the awarding of the contracts.

This is good news for several reasons", says Dr Dom Wills, CEO of solar project developer, SOLA Future Energy.

While the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Transform RSA have argued they were victorious in getting the court to interdict Eskom from going ahead with the conclusion of the contracts, the Department of Energy said no interdict had been granted.

In the absence of an interdict‚ and with the court having expressly informed the parties at court that it would not grant such an order‚ nothing prevented Eskom and IPPs from signing the agreements as scheduled by me for Tuesday‚ 13 March 2018.

"The IPP roll out will raise the cost of electricity dramatically, because IPPs cost much more than coal-fired electricity".

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The saga surrounding the renewables-tied PPAs was supposed to end with their signing today, but grid operator Eskom will not be able to ink the contracts before a full hearing is held on March 27, 2018.

"Electricity prices will skyrocket because of the IPP roll-out; while at the same time that Value-Added Tax and the fuel price are going up, workers are being paid slave wages of R20/hour and less".

But this plan was stopped by trade union Numsa and lobby group Transform South Africa when they were granted a late-night interdict by the High Court to halt the proceedings. "The reality is that we are living in a country now experiencing 36% unemployment rate and sitting at over 50% poverty rate, such job losses will have a dire effect on economies where these coal stations are located", added Hlubi-Majola.

She points out that as has been demonstrated through three competitive bidding rounds, the renewable energy industry is in a strong position to contribute to the South African economy through job creation, advancing the transformation agenda, improving rural livelihoods and attracting foreign direct investment.

"There is no evidence at this point that these independent renewable energy providers will be able to retain the same number of workers now employed in the coal fired power stations".