The Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) in Cape Town, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) in New York and the Transnational Institute (TNI) in Amsterdam, launched a research report titled: “Eskom Transformed: Achieving A Just Transition for South Africa” with support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung South Africa.
This report presents the case for a modern national power utility - a New Eskom.
The contents of the report reflect the work of three research organisations – the Alternative Information AIDC, TUED and TNI. These research organisations have worked closely with the trade unions involved in organising workers at Eskom – the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).
Before Covid-19 replaced Eskom’s crisis as the central issue facing the country, it was only unions and their very close allies that held a consistent line both against the proposed ‘unbundling’ of the utility and against the incursions of the independent power producers (IPPs). Many believe that this opposition merely reflects the desire on the part of trade unions to protect coal sector jobs, and to do so in a way that is oblivious to the economic, social and ecological problems that come from the continued use of coal. Similarly, union opposition to the IPP system – including the Renewable Energy IPP program known as ‘REI4P’ – has in some quarters been seen as an opposition to renewable energy itself and economy-wide decarbonisation more generally.