JOHANNESBURG (AA) About 1,000 contract workers were fired Friday for participating in a strike this week at the construction site of the Medupi power plant, which belongs to South African power utility Eskom.
“Eskom is not the one firing the workers, it’s the contractors,” Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told The Anadolu Agency on Friday.
He said over 3,000 workers had gone on strike Wednesday, with some vandalizing property at the construction site.
“Workers who were dismissed received prior warning letters,” he said. “They have now received their dismissal letters.”
The strike was organized by South Africa’s largest metal workers’ union, NUMSA, on Wednesday to raise awareness about accommodation conditions and workers’ bonuses.
The Medupi power plant, which is in its final phase of construction, will be comprised of six units with a gross nominal capacity of 800 megawatts each, with a total capacity of 4,800 megawatts.
Energy experts say that once construction is complete, the power plant will help ease South Africa’s energy crisis, which has led to chronic power cuts.
The power utility, which supplies nearly 95 percent of the country’s electricity needs, said Thursday that it would implement its stage-two load shedding due to a shortage of generation capacity, as several units were currently out of service due to planned and unplanned outages.
“Eskom would like to assure customers that load shedding is implemented as a necessary measure to protect the power system from a complete blackout,” it said in a statement.
Many businesses in South Africa have resorted to using generators due to the power outages, while some homes have begun using solar energy.
The country has reportedly lost billions of rand as a result of the frequent power cuts.
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