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It is tempting to allow oneself to succumb to Eskom fatigue. But that would be a terrible mistake as the electricity utility, which also happens to be the largest of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that are hobbling the economy, could turn out to be the clearest and most urgent danger to the whole democratic order. News that the government is appealing to banks to resume lending to Eskom and other SOEs that are flirting with financial collapse just serves to reinforce how serious the situation is. It is still not clear what specific requests have been made, but it is hard to see how banks, which are after all custodians of the nation’s savings pool and guardians of its financial stability, can justify lending out money if they don’t have high levels of confidence that it will be paid back. After a brief period of optimism following the appointment of a new Eskom board earlier in 2018, realism has returned and it is not fanciful to ask whether the recent strikes and incidents of s...

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