1000 Eskom workers fired, CEO suspension upheld


Eskom CEO Tshediso Matona’s challenge to his suspension was struck from the roll at the Labour Court in Johannesburg on Friday.

“The application is struck from the roll,” Judge Benita Whitcher said.

He was suspended on March 11 after refusing to step aside as chief executive so the board could hold an inquiry into the crisis at the power utility.

Whitcher agreed that Eskom’s board did not give him time to defend himself before suspending him. But, she believed, the board had serious concerns about problems at the parastatal.

These problems were already in the public domain and lifting his suspension now would not suddenly remedy the alleged damage to Matona’s reputation.

She believed the case he had filed at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration was where it should first be handled.

Original article

Eskom contractors have fired over 1000 workers for taking part in an illegal strike at the Medupi power station in Lephalale, Limpopo, the power utility said on Friday.

“The workers were fired for embarking on an illegal strike on Wednesday. Over 3000 employees took part in the strike, 1000 of them were dismissed as they had previous records against them,” said spokesman Khulu Phasiwe.

“The rest were issued with written warnings by the contractors.”

They had demanded better working conditions.

Phasiwe said Eskom would meet the contractors to determine whether they planned to fill the positions or implement extra shifts at the power station.

On March 2, Eskom announced that Medupi’s unit six produced power for the first time.

“Within the next three months, South Africa will see Medupi unit six’s full potential of 794MW being fed into the South African national grid,” suspended Eskom chief executive Matshediso Matona said at the time.

Unit six of the new power station has faced numerous construction delays.

It was announced last year that it was expected to be synchronised on December 24. Synchronisation, or first power, involves the generator being connected to the power grid so that it is aligned with all the other generators to deliver electricity.

In recent months, Eskom has battled to keep the lights on since the collapse of one of its coal storage silos, diesel shortages, and maintenance issues.

Because of these constraints Eskom will ask for a review of tariff increases it was granted for the 2015/16 financial year.

The National Energy Regulator of SA confirmed Eskom wanted to reopen the multi-year price determination, allowing for a further tariff hikes.

Two weeks ago, Matona, finance director Tsholofelo Molefe, group capital executive Dan Morokane, and commercial and technology executive Matshela Koko were asked to step aside as the power utility embarked on a fact-finding inquiry.

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1000 Eskom workers fired, CEO suspension upheld