Controversial Eskom bills awaits green light from NCOP

The bills provide for a R23bn injection and the conversion to equity of a previous R60bn govt loan.

FILE: Eskom may get a massive bailout if the National Council of Provinces allows it. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Eskom's on track to receive a multibillion rand bailout package after the passage of two controversial bills in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

The bills must first get the green light from the National Council of Provinces before President Jacob Zuma signs them into law.

But Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene says the support for Eskom that they provide will shore up the ailing parastatal's bottom line.

The bills provide for a R23 billion cash injection and the conversion to equity of a R60 billion government loan previously granted to Eskom.

The Democratic Alliance, the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Freedom Front Plus did not support of the bills, which were passed only due to the ANC's majority.

The DA's Malcolm Figg said, "It is clear that this is not the end of bailouts. Load shedding has already caused considerable damage to our economy. A tariff increase will cause irreparable damage to the economy.

"There was a time when Eskom had a better credit rating than government's sovereign debt. No more. Eskom's long-term debt has ballooned in recent times, and is fast approaching R300 billion."

At the same time, Eskom wants to raise tariffs in order to recover some of its operating costs.

Consumers were already hit with a 12,69 percent electricity tariff hike in April.