Numsa wins 11th-hour bid to stop Eskom's IPP deal

Signing of 27 renewable energy agreement in South Africa to be announced soon

The matter was argued in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria at 23:00 on Monday. A total of 27 Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Projects (REIPPP) contracts had been lined up for signatures.

South Africa delayed signing agreements for renewable-energy projects worth 56 billion rand ($4.7 billion), after a court postponed a ruling on a labor union application to block the deals.

Although Eskom was not present when the Minister made the announcement, its spokesperson confirmed that a resolution to sign the PPA's were taken at an Eskom Board meeting which was taking place at the time the Minister was making the announcement.

South Africa's new energy minister Jeff Radebe said last week that "milestone" signing would "bring much needed policy and regulatory certainty and maintain South Africa's position as an energy investment destination of choice".

Eskom earlier referred Fin24 to the Department of Energy for comment.

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The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), together with Transform RSA, have obtained an urgent court interdict at the North Gauteng High Court to prevent Eskom from concluding the outstanding renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) products, including the power purchase agreements.

"The court found that our application meets the standard for urgency and therefore granted us the interdict".

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 combination of all these factors will have dire consequences for the working class and the poor.

Numsa added it was a recognised trade union at Eskom‚ and wanted the opportunity to make submissions to the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa)‚ Eskom and the energy minister on the IPP contracts and the implications for its members.

Eskom previously refused to sign the agreements with energy developers including Denham Capital-backed BioTherm Energy and ACWA Power International, saying they were expensive and that power from the projects wouldn't always be available. "They were attempting to impose this deal on us without consultation, but we stopped them".

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