EFF backs Eskom in row over Exxaro’s black ownership

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Thursday urged Eskom not to “retreat on the demand that Exxaro must be empowered at a minimum of 51%”.

This came in the wake of Exxaro Resources‚ Eskom’s biggest black-owned coal supplier‚ receiving the green light from its shareholders at a recent meeting for the first step in a transaction that will see its black ownership slip to 30% from above 50%‚ staring down pressure from Eskom.

 The report of the move in Business Day on Tuesday‚ prompted the utility’s acting CEO‚ Matshela Koko‚ to take to Twitter and post: “So Exxaro decides to show @Eskom_SA a finger instead of radically transforming and has no decency to even engage on this matter.”

Koko would have an ally in the Red Berets’ Mbuyiseni Ndlozi‚ who said: “The EFF supports Eskom on Exxaro 51% black ownership. We believe Eskom 51% black ownership policy must be strictly applicable to all Eskom suppliers‚ with the aim of making sure that all Eskom suppliers are minimum owned 50% by indigenous black South Africans.”

He‚ however‚ added that the party believes “that 51% black ownership must be awarded to workers and not BEE schemes that benefit few individuals”.

“BEE has for many years been used as a vehicle to empower a few black individuals who are in actual fact‚ gatekeepers of white monopoly capital. BEE ownership must never mean empowerment of few black individuals.”

Ndlozi said Eskom should “instruct Exxaro and all its other suppliers to have 51% black ownership through workers ownership schemes‚ and must never retreat on the demand that Exxaro must be empowered at minimum of 51%”.

This‚ he added‚ should apply to all other state-owned companies’ procurement policies.

“This way‚ many workers will begin to benefit from the companies they work for‚” Ndlozi said.