CAPE TOWN – With Eskom set to get an urgent cash injection to shore up its crippled finances, President Cyril Ramaphosa wanted every South African to do their bit and pay for the electricity that they use.
Ramaphosa said the government would bring an urgent appropriation bill to Parliament to provide the ailing power utility with a significant portion of the R230 million it needs over the next 10 years.
He said Finance Minister Tito Mboweni would provide more details in the coming days when the names of a new CEO to replace Phakamani Hadebe and a chief restructuring officer were also expected to be announced.
But Ramaphosa said ordinary South Africans also had a role to play in reducing Eskom’s massive debt burden of more than R440 billion.
The president’s message to electricity users was straightforward; pay up.
He said the government was working on how to deal with Eskom’s overall debt, including the billions owed by municipalities.
“Failure to pay endangers our entire electricity supply, our economy and our efforts to create jobs.”
He said those who use electricity must pay for it.
“Days of boycotting payments are over; this is now the time to build and the time for all of us to make a contribution.”
Ramaphosa did not expand on plans to break Eskom up into three entities, that he announced in his February State of the Nation Address. That was met with vehement pushback from unions.