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Treasury's economic blueprints throws sharp focus on Eskom's woes

South Africans have been urged to comment on the report, which draws on several themes including addressing distorted patterns of ownership and modernising industries.

FILE: Eskom's Megawatt Park offices in Sunninghill. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Treasury's economic blueprint which Finance Minister Tito Mboweni hopes will add as much as three percentage points to South Africa's economic growth has drawn sharp focus on problems faced by Eskom and how the struggling utility can be saved.

Eskom, which is knee-deep in debt is mentioned at least 28 times in Mboweni's 77-page report.

South Africans have been urged to comment on the report, which draws on several themes including addressing distorted patterns of ownership and modernising industries.

Mboweni highlighted some hard truths, emphasising the unsustainability of Eskom's current business model.

He said that this posed a significant burden on the fiscus.

Citing an independent study, Mboweni added that the sale of Eskom's coal-fired power stations could raise R450 billion.

On a point that is sure to hit South Africans the hardest, Mboweni said that the ailing parastatal's future depended on the continued increase in power prices.

Eskom is owed billions of rands by South African households, municipalities, businesses and clients in neighbouring countries.

The turnaround strategies outlined for Eskom in the blueprint will now be interrogated by the utilty's restructuring office and its board.

That's according to Treasury's acting deputy director-general for economic policy Duncan Pieterse.

Pieterse said that other options to generate electricity had also been put on the table for scrutiny.

"We also talk about the other way in which we can, for example, harness renewable energy and build on the success of renewable energy programme because of the contribution that that makes to costs of electricity and how that can help households and businesses lower their costs."

The finance minister released the document on Tuesday, which can be found on Treasury's website.

It's aimed at providing strategies to turn the country's economy around.

Mboweni said that economic growth and productivity were lower than what they need to be.