With the state of the nation address (Sona) behind us, all eyes will turn to the budget speech due on February 21. Usually, the president mentions a few items for the minister of finance to flesh out, but this year one had to scratch quite deep to detect anything relevant to the budget in Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the opening of parliament.  

Ramaphosa made an oddly big deal of a planned investment in 14,000km of power transmission lines. The number isn’t new — it comes from Eskom’s Transmission Development Plan that has been around since October 2022. Electricity minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa has spoken about it on several occasions since. Yet this plan, which is intended to apply to the next decade, hasn’t been turned into reality. And it is an ambitious number requiring 1,500km of lines being built every year, whereas Eskom has been averaging about 300km. ..

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