Parliament on Industrial peace key

Industrial peace key as Kusile reaches completion � Committee

The Select Committee on Economic and Business Development has urged Eskom, SA's electricity parastatal, to prioritise industrial peace at the Kusile Plant as scope of work is shrinking as a result of the looming completion of the project.

The Chairperson of the Committee Mr Mandla Rayi said it was important that as de-scoping is happening, a strategy to deal with people losing work is in place, and that the plant is delivered on time.

Naturally, as the scope of work is reduced on any project, the result is that job opportunities will diminish as well. This is not ideal for our poor communities who rely on these projects for income, but they should appreciate that the completion of Kusile will result in reliable and sustainable supply of electricity � which in return could result in sustained economic growth, Mr Rayi said.

The Committee, and its counterpart in Trade and International Relations, is visiting the Kusile Power Plant in Mpumalanga where they were informed that strikes and protests were among challenges that the plant faced. It was revealed that at its peak the plant employed about 20 000 people but that is now shrinking.

The Committees were happy with the contribution of the plant to the local communities, not only through job opportunities but also through imparting of skills and opportunities for small businesses.

Employment opportunities should not end with the construction phase of the plant. Opportunities should be extended to the small micro and medium enterprises and cooperatives, that will in turn drive employment opportunities for the locals, Mr Rayi said.

He said upskilling of people who were part of this project is satisfying even though on a minimal scale.

"The Committee is concerned about sourcing of materials. Reliance should be more towards locally produced and manufactured materials in order to promote localisation. But also it was noticeable that there is a number of highly qualified engineers who are foreign nationals. These people should impart the skills to the locals, and Eskom should have a plan on how it hopes to improve the engineering skills locally."

There has to be a concerted effort to ensure that our people benefit from projects that are constructed in their area. This will go a long way in ensuring that the radical economic transformation is realised not only in Mpumalanga but throughout the country, he said.

The Committee said it was satisfied with its week-long oversight visit to Mpumalanga. Later in the day the Committee will visit the Magistrate's Court in Witbank.

Source: Government of South Africa