Eskom plans to retrench 500 more of its white employees by 2025, most of whom are responsible for maintenance work at the power utility. This is according to Eskom’s latest Employment Equity Plan for 2023 to 2025.
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The trade union Solidarity’s legal team has issued a letter addressed to Eskom asking for a moratorium on race-based appointments at Eskom as a measure to help address the power crisis.
Solidarity stressed the point that there is an urgent need for the best skills required in jobs regardless of race. “There are competent black and white artisans at Eskom”. Eskom should recruit based on merit and skill not on skin colour.
Solidarity has stated in the letter that it reserves the right to go to court should Eskom continue with its retrenchment plan of white employees.
Solidarity Chief Executive, Dr Dirk Herman said, “We do not see in the plan that Eskom is making plans to address its skills challenges. This plan is all about skin colour at the various job levels.
“These absurd race targets come amid the fact that power station maintenance is one of Eskom’s major challenges. Eskom should now focus on one thing only, and that is not race, but power. South Africans do not need race targets but light in their homes and power for their businesses,” Hermann explained. “Targets such as these discourage existing staff members and also imply that competent white persons cannot apply for jobs to help solve the crisis. Also, it makes it nearly impossible to appoint some of the hundreds of experts who have offered their services to assist Eskom because they have the wrong skin colour.”
According to Solidarity, Eskom has a history of a blatant race policy. Between 1994 and 2002, at least 10,207 white employees left Eskom, and from 2000, Eskom paid a total of R1.8 billion in current rand value in retrenchment packages to white employees.
“Eskom has learnt nothing from this. It is still pursuing its race programme, even in the dark,” Hermann adds in conclusion.