National Assembly approves Eskom unbundling bill

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National Assembly approves Eskom unbundling bill

Paving the Way for Structural Reforms at the Embattled Utility

The National Assembly has taken a significant stride towards the long-awaited unbundling of
Eskom by passing the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill. The bill, which garnered 234
votes in favor and 25 rejections from EFF MPs, aims to facilitate the creation of a
transmission system operator and an open market platform for competitive electricity trading.

This move aligns with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2019 State of the Nation address, where
he announced plans to unbundle Eskom to introduce competition. The bill’s passage sets
the stage for the restructuring process, a move that has faced opposition from various
quarters, including the South African Federation Trade Unions (Saftu).

Saftu has vehemently rejected the bill, citing concerns over the potential privatization of
energy provision. “Saftu is opposed to the liberalization of the energy generation market, the
unbundling of Eskom, and the dismantling of Eskom,” said Zwelinzima Vavi, the federation’s
spokesperson. “Eskom as a vertically integrated public electricity producing company, and
the public provision of energy must be protected from the private sector. The private sector
will turn the provision of energy into a site for profit-making.”

With the National Assembly’s approval, the bill now moves to the National Council of
Provinces for concurrence before being presented to the President for final assent and
enactment into law. As the process unfolds, the debate over the future of Eskom and the role
of private players in the energy sector is expected to intensify.