Hilary Joffe Columnist

There was serious money in the room when President Cyril Ramaphosa this week addressed a roomful of big-hitting international and local fund managers, who collectively have about $400bn (about R5.7-trillion) invested in SA's bond and equity markets. The president said all the right things - including, emphatically and repeatedly, that Eskom was too big and too important to the economy and the country to fail, and that the government was not going to allow it to fail. He said there was a credible business plan in place. He said partnerships with the private sector would be welcome. He promised the government would address the "elephant in the room" - Eskom's debt. The price of Eskom bonds lifted in response to the president's comments, despite a Bloomberg report speculating the debt had now climbed to almost R500bn. Yet the "too big to fail" pitch was almost more disturbing than reassuring, raising questions again about whether the government is genuinely on track to fix Eskom and sl...

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