Mboweni on Eskom debt: collect money owed by municipalities | Fin24
 
  • Clawback

    Over R2.1bn has been recovered from the beneficiaries of state capture, says Pravin Gordhan.

  • On the Brink

    An acceleration in SA's economic growth could trigger power cuts, according to Eskom.

  • Fin24’s newsletter

    Sign up to receive Fin24's top news in your inbox every morning.

Loading...

Mboweni on Eskom debt: collect money owed by municipalities

May 20 2019 20:56
Paul Vecchiatto and Paul Burkhardt, Bloomberg

Embattled Eskom must prioritise collecting the money it is owed by municipalities as a first step toward becoming financially sustainable, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said.

Eskom Holdings has reported that municipalities owed it R17bn in arrears for power purchases by the end of September, a 25% increase from six months earlier.

The National Treasury allocated Eskom R69bn over the next three years in the February budget to help it stay afloat. Mboweni described as "madness" that the government gives municipalities taxpayer money through grants, and then has to assist the power utility because some of those councils don't pay it for electricity.

"It is not rocket science and it is quite simple," Mboweni said in an interview in Cape Town on Monday. The arrears "must be collected," he said.

Eskom hasn't been selling enough power to cover its operating costs and interest payments. It's been forced to implement rotating blackouts over the past few years to prevent a collapse of the national grid as its fleet of aging and poorly maintained plants struggled to keep pace with demand.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who secured a five-year term when the ANC won May 8 elections, announced plans earlier this year to split the company into three units to make it easier to manage.

Operational fix

The company's debt has increased to almost R500bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from public records, including bonds and issued loans.

Mboweni said he has no knowledge of a proposal to set up a special-purpose vehicle that would take over a large part of Eskom's debt and raise concessional financing on the back of accelerated climate-change commitments.

Business Day newspaper reported earlier Monday that the option was being considered as part of the plans to restructure the utility.

"I have not received any information about that," Mboweni said. "The first issue that has to be sorted out with Eskom is operational. It's not about its finances."

Mboweni is likely to hold on to his job for at least another year when Ramaphosa names his new cabinet next week, according to two people familiar with the selection process, who asked to remain anonymous because they aren't authorised to comment.

eskom  |  tito mboweni  |  energy  |  municipalities
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 
 

Company Snapshot

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

What's your view on deep sea mining?

Previous results · Suggest a vote

Loading...