Of all the executives, government officials and consultants being recruited to tackle the mammoth task of rescuing Eskom, the toughest task could fall to the person who has to take it apart.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said in June that a soon-to-be appointed chief restructuring officer (CRO) will be “expected to re-position Eskom financially with careful attention to the mix between revenue, debt and cost structure of the company”. That euphemistic job description skirts around what the person will inevitably have to do: fire thousands of workers, split it into three units, and help re-organize a R440bn debt mountain...

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