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South African court blocks Eskom's $4.7 billion renewable energy deals

Staff Writer |
A South African court has blocked state power utility Eskom from signing $4.7 billion of renewable energy deals.

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Eskom, whose coal-fired power stations supply the bulk of South Africa's electricity needs, was due to sign 27 contracts with private sector producers on Tuesday following last week's announcement by energy minister Jeff Radebe.

But the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the country's biggest union, launched an urgent court bid late on Monday arguing the deals would lead to reduced demand for coal-based power, and thus job losses in the coal-producing province of Mpumalanga.

NUMSA, whose court challenge was backed by a civil society group called Transform SA, also argued that renewable electricity costs were higher than coal and so would hit the economy.

"The consequences of all these factors will have dire consequences for the working class and the poor," NUMSA said.

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