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David Mabuza denies sale of Eskom to private sector

DEPUTY President David Mabuza answers questions in Parliament. Picture: GCIS

DEPUTY President David Mabuza answers questions in Parliament. Picture: GCIS

Published Dec 10, 2021

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Johannesburg - Deputy President David Mabuza has denied that the government wants to sell Eskom to private entities.

Mabuza, however, added that plans were afoot to restructure state-owned entities and shut down those that were not needed.

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Some of the SOEs would be merged with others, according to Mabuza.

He added that some of the SOEs needed bailouts amounting to billions of rand from time to time.

The government has spent more than R500 billion in bailouts over the past 15 years, with entities such as Eskom, SAA, Denel and the Post Office among those getting a big slice.

Mabuza also revealed that President Cyril Ramaphosa had tasked the SOE Council to look at the restructuring of the SOEs as some of the entities were not financially viable.

He said the government sought to ensure that Eskom remained a sustainable business and was not reliant on bailouts.

Mabuza told Parliament that he supported Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s stance that the National Treasury would no longer give bailouts to SOEs.

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The SOEs must be able to have a strong balance sheet and be sustainable to survive, he said.

However, he denied claims by the EFF that the government wanted to privatise Eskom.

He said the government has split Eskom into three entities for generation, distribution and transmission to make it more efficient.

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“There is no intention of government to sell Eskom. Eskom must be supported, it is important in the life of our economy.

“The president has established the SOE Council, and this council is looking at the best options and the restructuring of all SOEs because there is duplication. A number of these companies repeat one or two things. ... They will look at those that need to be maintained and those that need to be discarded.”

The country’s second in charge said they would continue to support the power utility as they had done in the past.

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“We must understand that the criticism (of Eskom) stems from load shedding. We must understand that the leadership found the utility (with) these plants not in a good state,” he said.

Mabuza also told Parliament that he went to Russia to get medical treatment because doctors there had been attending to him over the past few years.

He also said they needed to ramp up the land reform programme despite the ruling party failing to garner the required support on the expropriation of land without compensation.

siyabonga.mkhwanazi

Political Bureau

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