South Africa: Hard Reality Check for Eskom, Public Wage Bill and No Love for Taxpayers

Photo: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni ahead of the Budget 2019 Speech.

In a hard-hitting Budget that bluntly put a daily R1-billion price tag on borrowing costs, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni pulled off a political juggling act "in the interest of our people and our country, and not in the narrow objectives of any political party". Mboweni's maiden R1.83-trillion Budget, delivered with a little help from three Bible verses and Charles Dickens, was a hard reality check to Eskom, which got left with all its debts to pay itself. The role of the public sector trade unions in reducing the public wage bill emerged as key, as well as taxpayers - who get no notable relief.

Eskom did not get what it wanted, and what was widely expected - a R100-billion debt swop by which government would take over a share of the power utility's R419-billion debt book on to its own. Instead, Wednesday's Budget allocated the power utility a R23-billion a year injection for the next three years, or R69-billion in total, to support the restructuring into three units that President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) earlier in February.

Those billions come with conditions, including the appointment of a chief...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 600 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.