The North Gauteng High Court National has granted the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa and Transform SA an urgent interdict to block Eskom from signing purchase agreements with independent producers for 27 renewable energy projects.

ENCA on Tuesday reported that the energy minister was forced to give an undertaking in court that he would not sign the agreements, until the matter had been given a full hearing by the North Gauteng High Court.

Fears of job losses

According to the unions the deals, which were supposed to be inked today, would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole.

“The signing of the IPP means that Eskom will require less coal-fired electricity. This is likely to lead to the closure of the coal-fired power plants and the impact will be that at least 30 000 working class families will suffer because of job losses,” the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said in a statement.

“We stopped them”

The union noted that as a recognised trade union at Eskom it wanted the opportunity to make submissions to the energy regulator Nersa‚ Eskom and the energy minister on the IPP contracts and the implications for its members.

“Eskom was planning to sign these agreements despite the fact that a previous application‚ by the Coal Transporters Forum to interdict them from signing is still pending at the North Gauteng High Court. They were attempting to impose this deal on us without consultation‚ but we stopped them!‚” said Numsa.

The matter has been set down for March 27 at the North Gauteng High Court.