No money for Eskom

Eskom will not receive a large cash injection from the South African government, said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Gigaba told the Business Times that there was “absolutely no way that government is going to have $1 billion… to capitalise Eskom.”

“There is not a cent that is going to come out of government to capitalise Eskom,” he said in the report.

It was reported in 2017 that Eskom was wasting billions on power stations when there was no demand, and that the utility could save R15 billion by decommissioning old power stations and halting construction of new units.

Gigaba said the problems at Eskom gave him sleepless nights.

“You have a sense of a company, a board, that is oblivious to the issues the country is raising, completely oblivious.”

“Obviously what they are doing is to wreck the company with the expectation that government, as the shareholder, is going to come to the party,” he said.

Gigaba’s statements follow Eskom chairperson Zethembe Khoza resigning this week.

Khoza said his resignation was “not necessarily” due to pressure from Gigaba, who said the financial situation at Eskom requires urgent attention.

Compounding matters is a threat from the JSE that it will suspend Eskom bonds if the company fails to release its half-year financial results by the end of January.

Gigaba’s firm stance on Eskom has not impressed everyone in the industry, however, with economist Iraj Abedian sceptical of the minister’s concern over Eskom.

“He only comes after nine months [in office] to say Eskom’s situation is dire. Well, congratulations minister, you’ve been there nine months doing nothing,” said Abedian in the report.

Now read: Turning heat into electricity

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No money for Eskom