Following the recent incidents where police were called in to disperse striking workers, the government’s continued reluctance to intervene and engage with these workers can now only be described as a dereliction of duty.
The workers have requested better living conditions in hostels, a renegotiation on the living-out allowance, and a resolution around the issue of completion bonuses for Medupi construction.
While the valid concerns of workers must be addressed without delay, construction needs to be fast-tracked and lasting measures implemented to prevent further strikes. This may extend to the consideration of special regulations preventing further strike action.
It must not be forgotten than since the beginning of construction of Medupi in 2007 there have been over a year and a half of work stoppages.
This inevitably leaves millions of poor and vulnerable South African’s – who are already struggling to make ends meet – to live with the protracted delays at Medupi and the resultant load shedding it brings to their daily lives.
The Ministers must intervene immediately and create an environment where Eskom, its contractors and the unions can have open and frank dialogue which will lead to a swift end to this impasse.
Any further delay to the construction of Medupi translates to increased strain on the national electricity grid which our country can ill-afford.
South Africa’s grid is in a constant state of strain with load-shedding being commonplace.
A secure electricity supply is essential to economic growth and job creation in our country.