Cash-strapped utilities that were hoping for financial respite from the budget were left disappointed as finance minister Malusi Gigaba chose not to make any new allocations to shore up their leaking balance sheets. Instead of the carrot that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were hoping for, the minister spoke of the stick. He said government would prioritise strengthening corporate governance and the management teams of SOEs to eliminate rampant corruption. Nonetheless, the R466bn in government guarantees, given to the entities as collateral for their debts, will stay in place. The last of the guarantees — R350bn extended to cover Eskom’s debt — will expire in March 2023. First in the whipping line would be the board and management of arms manufacturer Denel, Gigaba said. Denel’s new board will be announced soon, as will a new set of directors for SA Express (SAX) — the regional airline operator that is set to soon be merged with its larger but equally cash-strapped cousin, SA Airway...

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