South Africa: Much Greater Levels of Transparency Are Needed From Eskom

analysis

For far too long, reports by the president's advisory task team and the Minister of Public Enterprises' technical task team on Eskom have been kept secret and out of the eyes of stakeholders and the public.

Eskom provides only limited data on its power system and generation plant performance, while information on its appalling environmental performance is thin on the ground and hard to come by. Information on Eskom's restructuring efforts is almost non-existent.

On Friday 27 March 2020, credit rating agency Moody's downgraded South Africa's debt to junk status (below investment-grade rating) with a negative outlook, which could prompt significant capital outflows.

"The implementation of the framework for a reliable supply of power to the economy and fiscal reforms to contain expenditure and enhance revenues are important milestones [for improved ratings]," says Moody's in its announcement.

But to win the confidence of rating agencies, financial markets, customers, labour, communities, civil society and the public, much greater levels of transparency are needed about Eskom in respect of financial, operational, environmental and restructuring issues.

Industry, stakeholder and public perceptions

"There is always a sense that Eskom deliberately releases the minimum information necessary," comments Peter Attard-Montalto, global head of capital markets research...

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