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The World Bank approves the Eskom loan

The ANC on Friday lambasted the Democratic Alliance for trying to politicise the awarding of a...

Eskom flags at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

The ANC on Friday lambasted the Democratic Alliance for trying to politicise the awarding of a multi-billion rand World Bank loan to Eskom.

The World Bank granted the power utility a R27 billion loan to build the Medupi Power Station in <?xml:namespace prefix="u1"?><place u2:st="on">Limpopo saying it did so to help <country-region u2:st="on"><place u2:st="on">South Africa</country-region> achieve a reliable electricity supply.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

DA leader Helen Zille had lobbied against the loan saying it would only serve to benefit the ANC.

She claimed the ruling party stands to make a billion rand from the deal because of its affiliation with Hitachi Africa, a company which will be involved in the construction process.

The ANC’s Jackson Mthembu said the World Bank agrees that addressing <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">South Africa</country-region>’s power problems is a priority.

“She has just been shown that she cannot use political matters to influence the international community. The international community agreed with all of us in the country that this matter was of international importance,” said Mthembu.

When the 4800 mega watt Medupi Power Station is up and running, it will increase <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on"><country-region u2:st="on"><place u2:st="on">South Africa</country-region></country-region>’s generating capacity.

Meanwhile, the <country-region w:st="on"><country-region u2:st="on">United States</country-region></country-region>, the <country-region w:st="on"><country-region u2:st="on">Netherlands</country-region></country-region>, the <country-region w:st="on"><country-region u2:st="on">UK</country-region></country-region>, <country-region w:st="on"><country-region u2:st="on">Italy</country-region></country-region> and <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on"><place u2:st="on"><country-region u2:st="on">Norway</country-region></country-region> are not supporting the loan citing concerns about the power station’s environmental impact.

They said the coal fired power plant poses threats of air pollution and high sulphur dioxide levels to communities living nearby.

However, government said while more than half of the loan will be used to construct the power station, the remainder of the funds will be spent on renewable energy projects.