Mamongae Mahlare, MD of Illovo Sugar SA, says opening up the grid to independent power producers could provide a critical lifeline for the sugar industry, which is fighting for its life because of the sugar tax and cheap imports.

"We're actively engaging with Eskom to understand how we can get into that game," she says. But time is running out and there is an urgent need for more clarity, consistency and action from the government.

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