Parliament greenlights R59bn for Eskom

2019-10-31 17:05 - Lameez Omarjee
 Eskom logo
(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP) ~ AFP

The National Council of Provinces on Thursday agreed to a special appropriations bill that would see Eskom receive an additional R59bn over the next two years.

Last week members of the National Assembly put their stamp of agreement on the bill. It now requires the president's assent.

The R59bn has been accounted for in the medium term-budget policy statement, announced by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday.

Treasury has allocated R230bn to Eskom over the next 10 years. Government has elected to bring forward some of those monies to help Eskom maintain its going-concern status and service its debt and interest costs. Eskom's annual debt and interest payments averages R85bn over the next three years, according to the medium-term budget policy statement.

Through the special appropriation, the R23bn allocated for 2019/20 will be topped with R26bn, and the R23bn allocated for 2020/21 will be topped with R33bn.

An additional R10bn is earmarked for 2021/22, but this is not part of the special appropriation bill and will be accounted for in a separate process, according to Treasury.

While there have been expectations for Mboweni to make announcements on dealing with Eskom's R450bn, Treasury has no intention on providing debt relief to Eskom until the power utility fixes its operations.

"Everyone waiting for us to say something on Eskom debt. Let us fix Eskom before we can start talking about how to take over or to address the debt situation at Eskom.

"You can give them reprieve today, if you do not fix Eskom as a business that is supposed to provide a service, you will have a problem" Treasury Director General Dondo Mogajane told members of Parliament earlier on Thursday at a briefing on the medium term budget policy statement.