At COP26 in Glasgow, the EU, the US and the UK announced it was going to “mobilize” $8.5 billion to accelerate South Africa’s transition away from coal in order to protect the climate.
A month later the IMF “advised” the South African government to downsize and break up (“unbundling”) its public utility (Eskom) in order to build a “A Green and Climate-Resilient Economy.” The “unbundling” of Eskom, “must be accompanied by a substantial downsizing and structural transformation of its operations, notably through a meaningful reduction of procurement and personnel costs. Eskom spends more than it earns, reflecting both its operational inefficiencies and unsustainable debt level. Competition from private firms is necessary. The resulting higher level of private investment should help finance the energy transition away from coal, contributing to climate change objectives.”
The IMF is pursuing the same policy in many countries in the Global South. But experience has shown that the privatization of power systems impedes the effort to move away from fossil fuels.
Unions and their allies in South Africa have put forward an alternative to this approach, one that keeps energy under public ownership, allowing a transformed and fully-resourced Eskom to drive the transition while preserving the country’s energy sovereignty.
Meanwhile, unions are leading an international effort to fight the energy privatization agenda and to reclaim energy companies to public ownership under a pro-public mandate that can address climate concerns.
A list of speakers will be circulated in the coming days. Please register here.
We hope to see you on February 25th! In solidarity,
The TUED team
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