Nuclear jobs will go to locals first – Eskom

Eskom yesterday, 17 March, refuted suggestions that nuclear jobs will go to Port Elizabeth instead of to local Kouga residents first.

It said an online news article published in Kouga yesterday is “a complete distortion of facts”.  The power utility also said Eskom has always indicated that jobs and opportunities will go to Kouga people first (in the advent of a nuclear power plant being built in the Kouga area.)

Eskom was reacting to a news article published in Kouga yesterday under the headline ‘Nuclear jobs will go to Port Elizabeth’.

The Kouga online news site article followed an earlier announcement by Eskom  on 14 March that it had signed a memorandum of understanding  (MOU) to cooperate in the development of South Africa’s nuclear new build programme (NNBP). This announcement also said the two state-owned companies will work together in support of government’s plans to build local capacity through supplier development and localisation around the unfolding infrastructure for the nuclear programme.

The author of the online news article published yesterday wrote: “This seems to indicate that job creation, training, skills development and supplier procurement will take place primarily in Port Elizabeth and not in Kouga… This agreement has been signed despite the fact that Thyspunt is situated within the Kouga Municipality, yet is appears that the local Municipality is being by-passed by Eskom.”

Eskom sent out a response yesterday denying the above statements, and called the online news article “incorrect and misleading”.

Eskom stated: “Eskom has always indicated that jobs and any other opportunity will be to the local people of Kouga first before moving outwards to the region, province, country and continent. This is obviously linked to the kind of skills needed at a particular time during the project.

“This MOU is precisely to prepare ground as Eskom’s Group Executive for Group Capital, Abram Masango, stated:  “…it is critical to lay the foundation for local people to participate meaningfully during the various stages of the project by skilling them for jobs as well as business opportunities.”

Eskom added: “It would therefore be interesting to find out how (the author of the article) can come to this conclusion from the statement we issued.”