The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has vowed to launch a #RamaphosaMustGo campaign if President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration sells Eskom’s old power stations.
In a statement on Friday evening, the party accused Ramaphosa of intending to “sell Eskom power generation to the people who gave him money to buy the African National Congress (ANC) conference.”
During a briefing with the South African National Editors’ Forum in Cape Town on Tuesday this week, Ramaphosa expressed interest in the idea of selling the power stations when they are due for decommissioning.
‘Decommissioning would cause job losses’
He said, “There are quite a number of power stations that will be decommissioned and there are a number of players who have come to the fore and have said, ‘We can run these power stations much more effectively and profitably than Eskom; when you get to a point of decommissioning them, sell them to us. We will generate electricity [and] pump it into the grid.’
“It is an option that we should look at. I’m most interested in us looking at that option. If we do, it would then give workers [and] communities in the area the transition that we’ve been talking about, because the towns where those power stations are located would die if those power stations are decommissioned.”
However, the EFF expressed its vehement opposition to the idea because it would mean selling Eskom’s generating capacity to the “greedy capitalist establishment.”
It said, “The day Ramaphosa announces the actual sale of Eskom power stations will be the day the EFF announces a campaign on #RamaphosaMustGo and the campaign will be more militant than the #ZumaMustGo campaign.”
‘Rolling mass action’
The EFF said it would counter the President’s intention by escalating its rolling mass action to all provinces. It recently held a march to Eskom to protest against privatisation and load shedding.
“The EFF also cautions the potential buyers of Eskom power stations that we will mobilise workers and communities to physically prevent any private company from operating Eskom power stations,” it added.
It called on “progressive forces” to join the “fight against the capitalist capture of South African government under Ramaphosa.”
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in February, Ramaphosa announced a series of measures to allow more private players in electricity generation while maintaining state control in transmission.
These include a new independent power producers (IPP) bid window, self-generation, and municipalities being able to purchase electricity from IPPs.
During his SANEF briefing on Tuesday, Ramaphosa defended these decisions, saying “even the most communistic countries” such as China have a number of private electricity producers.
However, he maintained that Eskom’s new power stations, Medupi and Kusile, will not be sold because they are the “Rolls-Royces that must continue to reside in Eskom’s asset base.”