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Being without power for large chunks of our days and nights presents a gloomy atmosphere in which finance minister Enoch Godongwana will present his medium-term budget policy statement (MTBPS) on Thursday. Estimates put the cost to the economy at R500m per stage per day, exacerbating the challenges facing him.

It puts Eskom’s debt directly in the spotlight. While this has come down in the past two years from R496bn to R401bn, it’s still a huge economic albatross. Even though the debt is on Eskom’s balance sheet, ratings agencies will be watching closely to see what is done to address it, as well as our national debt of about R3.9-trillion (which excludes SOE debt)...

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