Carol Paton Writer at Large

We are almost out of time for a decision on Eskom. Although President Cyril Ramaphosa said last week at the Goldman Sachs conference that “the plan is in place; it is tested; it is credible” he was not being precise. To be fair, he did add “but we also have to look at the debt”, but that part of the plan is neither in place nor tested. The urgency has been brought on by two things. The first is that Eskom has six weeks to finalise its annual financial statements and as things stand, the R23bn-a-year bailout that was announced in February notwithstanding, it is not a going concern. The second reason for urgency is that month by month the company is in a liquidity squeeze. Because parliament did not pass the Appropriation Bill — the legislation that gives effect to the budget — before parliament rose at the end of March, Eskom has not been able to get the R23bn from the Treasury. At most all that can be transferred to it is R17.6bn; the rest can only be transferred after parliament pa...

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