Why truckers shut down Tshwane highways

Why truckers shut down Tshwane highways

Hundreds of trucks drivers disrupted traffic in Pretoria this morning over government's decision to look at alternative electricity producers of renewable energy - Independent Power Producers (IPP).

electricity power lines _jacanews
Photo: Maryke Vermaak, JacarandaFM News

The drivers, who transport coal, say moving away from coal generated electricity will costs jobs.

But what are IPPs?

Renewable energy is generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat. 

Eskom relies on coal power plants to produce approximately 90 percent of its electricity. 

However, Eskom's acting CEO, Matshela Koko, says it won't renew contracts of coal transport suppliers, as Eskom is burning 3 million tons less coal due to energy surplus, negative energy growth and increasing renewable energy input. 

Earth Life Africa's Makoma Lekalakala says the advantages of renewable energy are endless. 

"Globally we moving towards a greener approach to energy. We need to remember that renewable energy does not use water to generate electricity," says Lekalakala.

ALSO READ: South Africa well equipped for nuclear energy, says Eskom

The Department of Energy launched the Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which aims to diversify the sector, allowing private entities to produce energy for South Africa's grid.

"Although the process is open to everyone, we need policy changes in South Africa to allow communities to use the technology in their homes," says Lekalakala.

The National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) Deputy President, Joseph Montisetsi, says the union is totally opposed to the new plans. 

Montisetsi argues that the transition from coal to other energy generators will have a massive effect on coal workers and the economy. 

"Eskom is having problems and their management is not interested in consultation with NUM," says Montisetsi.

Montisetsi says we will have to abandon the energy that already have the infrastructure. 

"The number of work loss, will have a drastic effect on many families," says Montisetsi.

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