Today's Labour News

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southafricalogoCity Press reports that seven manufacturing companies might have to shut their doors due the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) abrupt announcement last month of a R0 budget for the National Solar Water Heater (NSWH) programme.  

Last year’s NSWH budget was R394 million.  In at least one factory – Isolar in Atlantis in the Western Cape – 85 employees have not received their salaries since February.  Isolar administrators said the department still owed the company R40m for an order that was completed in November.  The NSWH programme started in 2010 as a rebate scheme under Eskom to replace existing electrified geysers with solar water heaters to alleviate the demand for power from the national grid.  In 2015, the DOE took over the programme and changed the focus to providing solar water heaters to state-subsidised and unelectrified homes.  The existence of Isolar and other manufacturers was nurtured by the state programme, which also stipulated that 70% of the components had to be sourced locally.  It is believed the NSWH budget was reclaimed by Treasury due to lack of expenditure and the failure of the programme.  To date, only about 87,000 of the proposed 1.25 million units have been manufactured, and the related installation phase of the NSWH programme has not been implemented at all.  Deputy Energy Minister Thembisile Majola said last week her department was “very worried” about the seven companies, but was “engaging with them”.

Read this report by Steve Kretzmann in full at Fin24

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