South Africa-Eskom-Jobs

S/African leader vows to address job cut fears at Eskom

APA-Pretoria (South Africa)

The South African government will talk to workers at the national power utility Eskom on their retrenchment fears following plans to unbundle the troubled firm into three entities dealing with generation, supply and distribution, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.

The president said this in an interview with SABC-TV on the sidelines of the 32nd African Union leaders’ summit in Ethiopia on Monday.

Responding to a question on labour’s concerns for jobs over the unbundling, Ramaphosa said electricity generation was a "problem [for] all of us" and not just a "Cyril Ramaphosa problem" or a "Pravin Gordhan problem."

Gordhan, a former finance minister, now oversees the country’s state-owned enterprises like the cash-strapped power utility. The president announced the unbundling plan in parliament last week.

Ramaphosa added that all South Africans should pull together to save Eskom, including ordinary South Africans, who should pay (higher tariffs) for electricity in the same way they would pay for cellphone airtime (without complaining).

"Labour are clearly worried about a number of issues. We are going to sit down with labour so that we can discuss these issues and find solutions," he said.

He added: "They (workers) are also concerned about the issue of jobs because they say once you have these three entities, workers are going to be retrenched. And we are saying we want a just transition."

Ramaphosa said the workers represented by the unions are "our people, they are South Africans. So we are going to sit down and say this is the challenge we face. Let’s come up with solutions."

NM/jn/APA

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