Carol Paton Writer at Large

Brian Molefe, outgoing Eskom CE, has been hailed for doing great things for the state-owned company. But his achievements were much exaggerated by himself and his colleagues. As interim CE Matshela Koko takes over, it’s appropriate to shine a light on Eskom. Is it, as the government says, now on a sustainable footing? What does the future hold? Molefe’s key achievement was to put an end to load shedding. Two things made this possible: a reorganisation of the maintenance schedule, which resulted in improved plant performance; and falling demand for electricity. First, there is the problem of debt. Eskom has not yet reached the peak of its borrowing programme for Medupi and Kusile. Chief financial officer Anoj Singh says that Eskom’s debt will hit R330bn over the next five years. There are plans to borrow about R68bn more a year until the end of that period. The more debt Eskom takes on, RMB credit analyst Elena Ilkova points out, the greater the share of its income that is consumed b...

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