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Eskom's future in balance as MPs to decide on R17bn emergency funding

Eskom is struggling to service its debt and needs help from the fiscus and the R17 billion under consideration today is part of the R23 billion that Treasury allocated to the utility to help it get by.

FILE: Eskom's headquarters at Megawatt Park in Johannesburg. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Eskom’s future will be front and centre in Parliament on Tuesday morning as Members of Parliament (MPs) decide on whether to authorise R17 billion in emergency funding for the struggling power utility.

The funding was first announced in February in Finance Tito Mboweni’s national budget and was contained in the 2019 Appropriation Bill.

That Bill lapsed when the National Assembly dissolved before the May general elections. Now the sixth democratic Parliament will consider it.

Eskom is struggling to service its debt and needs help from the fiscus and the R17 billion under consideration today is part of the R23 billion that Treasury allocated to the utility to help it get by.

During his pre-budget briefing ahead of the budget speech earlier this year, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni made it clear the era of rolling bailouts for parastatals was over.

And with the Mboweni’s latest allocation, the official opposition wanted assurances that there were clear conditions attached.

The DA’s finance spokesperson Geordin Hill-Lewis: "It has to be conditional on Eskom implementing the reforms that have been spoken about but has been no progress on - like the appointment of a chief restructuring officer, like the splitting of Eskom into multiple units, the opening up of the energy sector to private players."

If the National Assembly plenary agrees to the Appropriation Bill, which it most likely will, the Bill will then be sent to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for consideration and adoption.

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