On the day Business Day broke the news that energy minister Jeff Radebe paved the way for businesses to generate their own electricity and supply the national grid, Bloomberg also had some sobering news on the state of Eskom’s finances. While, based on the company’s latest available financial results, the debt load is around R420bn, the wire agency reported that its own analysis of data including outstanding bonds and loans indicated that the figure has now risen to around R500bn. That’s an increase of about 20%. If the same happens over the next 12 months, we will be looking at a figure in the region of R600bn. Then look at the total GDP of just below R5-trillion and assume the economy will barely grow. That means Eskom’s debt will be equivalent to around 12% of GDP.

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