Already three finance ministers ago, Eskom was described as the biggest risk to South Africa. Tough decisions had to be taken, but instead what unfolded was a search for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It's necessary to cut through the BS.
South Africa and Eskom today are back where they were in January 2019, except worse for wear. Eskom's debt has increased in the past seven months to R450-billion, from around R419-billion. And it can't meet its obligations after October, as President Cyril Ramaphosa put it in his June State of the Nation Address. The power utility pushed South Africa to the edge of financial collapse at the end of March, triggering an emergency intervention to fund Eskom's liabilities it could not otherwise meet.
What are the financial options?
All choices are bitter, particularly given the frayed public purse. But the options haven't changed, regardless of political massaging and kicking for touch in the hope of a unicorn solution. It might not be a case of either or, but there are only three options:
One, cash bail-outs. That's already happened, once and then again. February's Budget allocated R23-billion for 2019, and the next nine years...