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Cost of saving Eskom falls on South Africans' shoulders - DA

Eskom is in debt to the tune of more than R420 billion and has applied to the regulator for tariff increases totalling 56% over the next three years.

Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) said South Africans have no choice but to pick up the tab for the cost of steering Eskom out of its financial crisis.

Eskom is in debt to the tune of more than R420 billion and has applied to the regulator for tariff increases totalling 56% over the next three years.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is expected to unveil a rescue plan for the stricken power utility in his budget on Wednesday.

The DA’s Alf Lees said Eskom cannot be allowed to fail: “Because if Eskom fails, the economy fails. If the lights go out, the economy stops. If the economy stops, we all go down the tubes.”

There’s much speculation about the plan Mboweni is expected to announce on Wednesday on how to save the crippled state-owned entity and how much that will cost.

Lees said South Africans will have no choice but to foot the bill, even though they had no part in the theft, corruption and mismanagement that’s brought the power utility to its knees.

“A bailout of major proportions as well as tariff increases will have to be announced tomorrow.”

Lees said Eskom’s dominance over the economy cannot continue. The DA believes privatising electricity generation would increase competition and lower costs in the medium to long term.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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