The Guard

The Truth On Board

Eskom brings skills transfer

By Emily Setona

QWAQWA – Disgruntled union workers are furious with the signing of the Distribution Agreement Agency (DAA) between the Maluti–a–Phofung (MAP) local municipality and Eskom because they were not given an opportunity to argue their case in the Local Labour Forum (LLF).

South African Municipal Workers’ Union (SAMU) secretary Mandlapisi Tshabalala said workers of Maluti–a–Phofung are very furious about this marriage between Eskom and the municipality because there was no engagement in the LLF which is a municipal-level bargaining platform that provides for the regulation of organisational rights for organised labour within the local government sector.

Tshabalala said this on May 7 at the Bluegumbosch multipurpose centre during the DAA signing ceremony.

“We as union workers are very furious with what is happening here today because we were not given an opportunity to argue our case in the LLF. Our concern is that it wasn’t clarified how the municipal workers working with electricity will be incorporated to work with Eskom? We were consulted but we did not reach consensus, that is why we do not support this signing,” Tshabalala said.

Lucas Mazibuko – a senior manager for maintenance and operations in Eskom Free State – said a technical team from Eskom will be stationed in Qwaqwa to assist the current municipal electricity workers to upgrade their skills through skills transfer initiatives.

“As Eskom we won’t just come in and take over, we plan to have a team of our own experts who will assist the electricians who work in the municipality to upgrade their skills so that they can be able to handle the work that our own experts will be doing in the initial stages of this agreement between Eskom and the municipality, that is meant to stabilize the electricity distribution network in this community,” Mazibuko told this publication.

Eskom’s executive distribution director Monde Bala said Eskom is not here to take over and that to get here has been a very long journey, but they are here to work with the municipality to make sure that the municipality can handle their own matters of service delivery and get on its feet as far as electricity distribution is concerned.

Listening to the briefing at UFS Qwaqwa campus Premier Mxolisi Dukwana.

“As Eskom our commitment is that we did not come here to take over. We are here to work with the municipality. We are here to do what is called skills transfer in the municipality so that at a given time we can hand over the ropes to the municipality when it is back on its feet. We are here to make sure that at that time the municipality will be able to take over the reigns of distributing electricity to its community,” Bala said.

Meanwhile, South African Local Government Association (SALGA) chairperson Lawrence Mathae said: “We are conscious of the fact that the sustainable provision of electricity is crucial for the overall development and well-being of all municipalities. As we move forward it is imperative that we remain steadfast in our commitment to transparency, accountability, and inclusive governance.

The success of this agreement depends on the ability of all stakeholders involved to work well together and I’d like to thank all those who have been involved in the negotiation and implementation of this agreement.”