16 January 2013

South Africa: NUMSA On the Nersa Hearing Disruption in Port Elizabeth

Photo: Saragoldsmith/Flickr
Power lines

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) notes the poisonous and malicious statement issued by the National Electricity Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) pertaining to the unfortunate disruption of its public hearing in Port Elizabeth today, 16 January 2013.

As Numsa, we would like to inform all South Africans that we were as surprised as the regulator when members of the public stormed inside the hearing venue in the opulent and leafy suburb of Summerstand in Port Elizabeth. This public disruption of the hearing was never sanctioned by Numsa or by any of its elected leadership.

We fully understand the motives and anger behind the disruption of the hearing, but we don’t agree with the approach as carried by members of the public. The disruption undermines both their grievances and legitimate demands we are putting on the table, for Nersa not to approve Eskom’s application.

We strongly believe that Nersa must consider the views as narrated to them by both union and community leaders to hold these important hearings in areas that are accessible to ordinary communities, so that these hearings do not become aloof talkshops amongst the elites or the privileged class.

We applaud the decisive leadership taken by Numsa and COSATU in restoring order and calm at the hearing. Furthermore, we appeal to members of the public to adhere to the picketing rules, to exercise maximum discipline and allow Nersa to continue with the hearings without any form of disruption or intimidation. Any form of undermines our collective struggle to exert pressure to Nersa not to consider Eskom’s application.

Lastly, Numsa as a disciplined union grounded in the best traditions of the Congress movement will never be part of an agenda that disrupts a democratic process.

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