Eskom moves the goalposts and seeks fresh relief
Publish date: 06 December 2018
Issue Number: 640
Diary: Legalbrief Forensic
Eskom is to ask the government to take R100bn of its debt onto its own balance sheet as part of a package of measures to turn it around. While the move would provide Eskom relief, it would add another two percentage points to the government’s debt-to-GDP ratio and could be seen as negative by credit ratings agencies. A SowetanLIVE report notes that the parastatal currently operates thanks to a R350bn debt guarantee from the government, which has been flagged as the biggest risk to the fiscus. Eskom chair Jabu Mabuza, who along with the utility’s officials is on an investor roadshow to London and the US, said ‘cost compression, revenue enhancements and debt relief are the core of the turnaround strategy’. The size of the proposed debt relief was R100bn and would entail government ‘taking that into its own balance sheet’. Eskom, which supplies most of SA’s electricity, has massed R419bn in debt over the past 10 years due to its huge capital build programme.
As Eskom battles to keep the lights on, Eric Wood, the former business partner of Gupta kingpin, Salim Essa, says he has been left to wage a R600m State Capture battle against the power utility all on his own. Every former Trillian employee has deserted CEO Eric Wood. ‘I am the only person who remains in the employ of Trillian. One could colloquially term me the last man standing.’ The Daily Maverick reports that Wood made these concessions as part of a desperate plea in an application to buy more time to tackle Eskom claims of corruption and malfeasance against him and his company ‘head on’.His application for late filing of a supplementary affidavit came at the start of Eskom’s case to set aside decisions that led to nearly R1.6bn in payments to Trillian and McKinsey at the High Court in Pretoria yesterday. The parastatal deems this nothing but an alleged ploy to delay the case.