S. Africa's coal truck drivers protest renewable energy

Protesters say government move to invest in renewables will cost 'hundreds' of jobs

S. Africa's coal truck drivers protest renewable energy

World Bulletin / News Desk

More than 100 coal truck drivers blocked several roads around the capital Pretoria early Wednesday in protest against the government’s decision to invest in renewable energy.

A driver contracted by South Africa’s power utility Eskom told Anadolu Agency that they were unhappy with the company’s decision to reduce coal consumption in favor of renewable energy as it would affect their livelihood.

"We are against the use of independent power producers supplying Eskom with renewable energy because it will cost hundreds of our jobs," Ntatee James said.

He said many of them supported several extended families and were worried they could lose their source of income.

The protesting truckers drove at a snail speed during the morning rush hour blocking traffic on major highways linking Pretoria to other cities which include the N1 North in Centurion, the N14 and R21.

In a morning televised statement, Pretoria Metro Police Spokesman Isaac Mahamba appealed to motorists to use alternative routes.

Protesters later marched to the Union Building which is the seat of the South African government to present their demands.

South Africa, which depends on coal to produce nearly 90 percent of its electricity, has been trying to diversify its energy sources to include solar and wind power to be fed into the national grid.

In his state of the nation address last month, President Jacob Zuma said the government was committed to South Africa’s continued investment in renewable energy as part of its overall energy mix. 

"Work is continuing to ensure energy security. Renewable energy forms an important part of our energy mix" he said.

Eskom announced in January that it would support major growth in the renewable energy sector from 2021.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Mart 2017, 16:42