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It is impossible to overstate just what a disaster the new bailout for Eskom is for SA’s public finances — not to mention the public psyche. Despair is setting in at the size of the fiscal mountain SA must climb and the alarming absence of a detailed strategy to return Eskom and other bankrupt state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to financial viability.

Promises by previous finance ministers that in future SOEs would be financed in a “deficit-neutral” manner, through the sale of state assets and cash injections from strategic equity partners, were wishful thinking...

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