National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) believes that signing of the 27 renewable agreements would be detrimental for the working class of Mpumalanga and the country as a whole.

The union made the statement after the Pretoria High Court granted an urgent interdict preventing Energy Minister Jeff Radebe and Eskom from signing the multi-billion rand agreements with independent power producers (IPP).

Numsa says the signing of the IPP means that Eskom will require less coal fired electricity and that 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.

It argued that electricity from renewable sources would cost much more than from coal-fired plants, and will therefore disadvantage the poor.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola says apart from costing about 30 000 jobs at coal mines, the move towards renewable energy would hurt poorer people.

Hlubi-Majola says, “The IPP roll out will raise the cost of electricity dramatically, because IPP’s cost much more than coal fired electricity. The ANC government clearly wants to make the working class and the poor suffer even more than they do now. Electricity prices will skyrocket because of the IPP roll out…”