The African Transformation Movement (ATM) is alarmed by persistent media reports that 40 engineers from Germany will be descending in South Africa tomorrow on Thursday on an arrangements purported to have been put together through diplomatic channels.

Media reports allude to the fact that these engineers will amongst others assist Eskom in its load-shedding challenges.

As ATM we hold a view that South Africa is more than equipped with experienced engineers to deal with any challenges that may be facing Eskom.

On our investigation of this matter, the spokesperson of Eskom, Mr Skhonathi Mantshantsha gave us assurances that these media reports are baseless. 

Mr Mantshantsha explained that as far as Eskom is concerned there are only two people due to land from Switzerland and Germany. He said they are coming to supervise installation of a particular piece of equipment at the Drakensberg Pumped Storage Scheme and that they will be at that station for 40 days.

The explanation by the Eskom spokesperson is however contradicted by both the spokesperson of the German Embassy, Mr Steffen Scholz and the German Ambassador himself Ambassador Martin Schäfer said who are reported to have said,

“With the easing of the lockdown in certain sectors, companies have resumed their operations, albeit on a reduced level. They are now preparing for a further ramp-up of their operations while tackling critical maintenance or important upgrading projects. Many of these projects require special expert knowledge that is not available on the ground.” – Scholz.

It is reported that on board are engineers, technicians and other experts whose skills are urgently needed to help get the economy going and South African exports rolling again, according to Scholtz. 

“They have been invited by German companies in South Africa because their scarce skills are not readily available in South Africa and the essential services they can provide, [such as] to upgrade high-tech production facilities in the Eastern Cape or assist Eskom in maintaining and upgrading their fleet of power plants,” Scholz said. 

Before departing to South Africa on the same flight in Frankfurt, German Ambassador Martin Schäfer is reported to have said: “We are in this together! Only if and when the coronavirus is defeated in the north, south, east and west, will we all be able to return to a new normal that resembles at least somewhat the lives we lived before the global crisis.”

ATM is therefore calling on Eskom and the DIRCO to urgently issue public statements to clarify this matter.

It cannot be that with unemployment skyrocketing, foreign nationals are imported from Germany or anywhere for that matter to do jobs that South Africans are able to do. ATM is very serious and unwavering on its stance to Put South Africans First and will not allow Government to overlook skilled South Africans in favour of their European friends and associates. Urgent clarity is needed from Eskom and DIRCO.

Issued by the African Transformation Movement.

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