A meltdown at some of SA's biggest state-owned companies is intensifying, placing the nation’s finances at risk and frustrating President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to attract new investment and resuscitate a moribund economy.

While monolithic power utility Eskom, which is teetering on the brink of insolvency, has dominated recent headlines, arms manufacturer Denel, the SABC and SAA have joined the list of the financially destitute entities scrambling for bailouts. The government guarantees most of their debt, so allowing them to go bust is not an option, even if it breaks its expenditure ceiling...

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