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'Electricity behemoth' Eskom needs to be modernised, says Ramaphosa

The president said the private sector would play a key role in Eskom’s overhaul but said the state would remain in charge.

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday gave the first indication of how Eskom’s overhaul would look like.

The president described the power utility as an “electricity behemoth” that needed to be modernised. He said the private sector would play a key role in Eskom’s overhaul but said the state would remain in charge.

Answering questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Ramaphosa said much progress had been made in stabilising Eskom since load-shedding set the economy reeling earlier this year.

Details of Eskom’s restructuring would go before Cabinet soon in the form of a special paper, which Ramaphosa said would be made public later this month.

But he gave some hints, saying the state would continue to have full control over transmission (the power lines), parts of generation – with renewables coming into play – and a role in distribution (the national grid).

“That is the architecture that is playing out, but the main important aspect is we want smart partnerships with the private sector,” Ramaphosa.

Eskom can’t raise the revenue it needs to cover operating costs and Ramaphosa said its debt was unsustainable.

“It is when we involve the private sector that we will be able to modernise – that is when we will be able to embrace, yes, renewable technologies because those technologies are coming at us fast and furious,” he said.


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