20 May 2019

South Africa: Speculation About Cabinet Posts Obscures SA's Achilles Heel - Eskom, Which Has Just Received Another R12.5 Billion


Speculation over Cabinet positions and factional ANC jockeying is distracting and obscures what is central -- not who holds what position, but determination by the Cabinet to put all shoulders to the same wheel. And Eskom will be central in any clean-up, because without fixing Eskom, there's little to be done for South Africa.

In late March 2019, Eskom pushed South Africa to the edge of economic collapse when it ran out of money and could not meet its debt servicing and contractual liabilities. The power utility had banked on a R7-billion disbursement from a R33.4-billon loan by the Chinese Development Bank that did not arrive.

The crisis was averted through a commercial bridging facility until Finance Minister Tito Mboweni used the emergency provisions of the Public Finance Management Act to release R17.6-billion for Eskom, of which R5-billion was paid over in early April.

None of that emerged until Mboweni filed the required statutory report with Parliament on the last possible day, just before the Easter long weekend.

In line with the national legislature's constitutional responsibility of accountability and transparency, the existence of the report was published in the Announcements, Tablings and Committee Reports under the heading "Report to Parliament...

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