The DA calls on Eskom to exercise its rights as an essential services provider and approach the Labour court with the intention to interdict the wildcat strike action at its power generation plants.
Notwithstanding the fact that Eskom is currently struggling to keep the lights on, wilful disruption of power generation plants through strike action is sabotage.
Less than 24 hours since Eskom issued a warning that the ongoing strike action at its power generation plants increased the risk of load-shedding, the country has been plunged into stage 4 load-shedding.
Should it be established that this escalation to a high level of load-shedding was directly caused by the strike action, the DA calls for immediate criminal charges to be laid against the offending parties.
Eskom has an Essential Services Agreement in place with its workers which enjoins both parties to not to engage in action that may disrupt or interfere with the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.
The striking workers are not only interrupting the operations of power generation plants, they are also ‘endangering the life, health or personal safety of the whole or part of the population’ by increasing the risk of high levels of load-shedding.
In terms of the Labour Relations Act, and though its designation as an essential service provider, Eskom is exempt from giving notice to the striking workers on its intention to approach the Labour Court for an interdict.
To protect critical infrastructure under its management, Eskom should make a direct application to the Labour Court seeking an immediate stop to strike action at its plants.
South Africa’s electricity generation ecosystem is already teetering over the edge and we simply cannot afford to have acts of sabotage worsen the crisis. Eskom infrastructure, even under its current state of strain, still remains the lifeblood of the country’s economy and should not be deliberately interfered with.
This chimes with the DAs call for a State of Disaster to be declared around Eskom and would represent an incremental step towards the realisation of what is required to fix what we have to keep the lights on for businesses, industry and ordinary citizens.