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National Assembly adopts Eskom Debt Relief Amendment Bill

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The National Assembly has adopted the Eskom Debt Relief Amendment Bill.

The bill aims to make amendments to the struggling power utility’s R250 billion debt relief plan.

It will give the Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana, the power to reduce further allocations to the state owned entity.

Chairperson of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations, Sfiso Buthelezi, explains.

“What is new in this amendment is introduced interest in (the) Eskom debt relief package with market related interest, while striking a balance between ensuring interest charges don’t make negative impact on Eskom’s cash flow, while reflecting (a) fair market-related rate. Take note in (the) original arrangement, debt was going to be interest free.”

Opposition parties did not support the amendment bill.

Democratic Alliance Spokesperson on Finance, Dion George, says: “The DA would un-bundle in (a) staged approach to establish diversified competitive generation sector. Eskom should get out of generation business as far as possible and rationalised electricity distribution industry built with public and private partnerships.”

Economic Freedom Fighters MP, Mzwanele Manyi, also raised his objections.

“In essence, it’s not debt, it’s a bailout. This is what it’s about. And political motive is not meant to address debt, which is the biggest threat to the economy. Instead, it’s meant to send a message to rating agencies.”

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