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South Africa will discuss whether to split Eskom



Eskom is vital to the health of the South African economy, as it provides more than 90% of its capacity, but it drowned in debt after a decade of steep financial downturn.

FILE: Minister of State-owned Enterprises Pravin Gordkhan. Picture: Krista Aibers / EWN

Johannesburg. The South African government will soon discuss whether the state-owned energy company Eskom should be split to make it financially viable, said public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan on Tuesday.

Eskom is vital to the health of Africa’s most industrialized economy, as it provides more than 90% of its capacity, but it drowned in debt after a decade of severe financial recession.

Experts hired by President Cyril Ramaphos to help revive the sick company, propose to divide it into three government agencies responsible for the production, distribution and transmission of electricity, sources familiar with this issue told Reuters last week.

Ramafosa is due to meet with experts this week, and the fate of Eskom will also be discussed at a cabinet meeting starting Wednesday.

“Should Eskom be merged into production, transmission and distribution, as is the case in world practice? This is a debate that we are going to have in the near future. And this will go beyond the debate, because we need a very fast movement, ”said Gordan at a business conference outside of Johannesburg.

Gordkhan, who also oversees the struggling state-owned companies Denel and South African Airways, added that the government would be ready to sell stakes in state-owned firms to private investors "as soon as we reach a level of stability in some of these enterprises."

“There is no place for endless help in the fiscus”, referring to the budget.


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