Minister in talks to end Medupi strike

 Public Enterprises Minister, Malusi Gigaba, yesterday, 21 February, met with stakeholders involved in the construction of the Medupi power plant to find a peaceful resolution so workers can return to work.

 Last week, protesting workers set an Eskom vehicle alight.  In January, the power parastatal temporarily closed the Limpopo coal-fired station when workers embarked on protest action.

“The Minister’s intervention is aimed at assisting parties to reach a negotiated settlement to end the industrial action and ensure they collectively develop a lasting solution to the problems,” a statement from Public Enterprises  Department said.   

Gigaba aims to ensure that construction at the site resumes immediately as further delays will have an adverse impact on the economic development of the country, the department said. The Minister believes  it is critical to stabilise the situation at Medupi.” 

The department also said Gigaba is  aware that parties need time to consult with their constituencies and partners as part of refining the agreement towards a lasting solution and the swift return to work.  The parties agreed in principle to commit to finding a resolution to the impasse so as to ensure that work resumes as a matter of urgency at the power plant and that the project is completed within set deadline.

 The power station will have a total at 4 788 MW installed capacity and will ease the pressure on the country’s power grid.

 The last unit of the plant is scheduled for commissioning by 2015 while the planned operational life of the station is 50 years.

 Earlier this week, Energy Minster Dipuo Peters said interruptions at the construction site of Medupi could have serious implications for energy supply security.

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