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Eskom a step closer to receiving R59bn bailout, Mboweni says issue beyond money

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said the correct people needed to be appointed to Eskom’s board and management, and that the government must then be in a position to hold them accountable for Eskom’s operations.

FILE: Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. Picture: Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Eskom is a step closer to receiving a R59 billion bailout in terms of the Special Appropriation Bill, which was passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The bill must now also be approved by the National Council of Provinces before President Cyril Ramaphosa can sign it into law.

Wrapping up the debate, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni told the House that Eskom’s problems went beyond money.

He said the correct people needed to be appointed to Eskom’s board and management, and that the government must then be in a position to hold them accountable for Eskom’s operations.

Eskom’s R59 billion bailout comes with a raft of conditions. It may only be used to pay down debt and interest payments, and the Department of Public Enterprises has to make sure there’s a new CEO within a month after the bill becomes law. Eskom’s board must also be strengthened by year-end.

The Democratic Alliances' Ashor Sarupen said Eskom was holding the country hostage.

“The bill in its present form is a blank cheque… it rewards the culture of state capture and theft. It diminishes the importance of oversight and accountability for public money. It allows Eskom to continue to hold a gun to the heads of our citizens, our businesses and our government.”

The Economic Freedom Fighter’s Floyd Shivambu said Eskom board chairman and acting CEO Jabu Mabuza should be fired for incompetence.

The Freedom Front Plus’s Wouter Wessels said previous bailouts had also come with conditions, which weren’t heeded. He doubted the latest bailout would fix Eskom’s problems.

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