- DA leader Mmusi Maimane has threatened to take President Cyril Ramaphosa to court if he does not reveal the details of Eskom’s R33 billion loan from China
- Maimane has already made a request for this information via Parliament and will approach Eskom to release the details of the loan in terms of the Access to Information Act
- The DA leader said he was simply trying to ensure the deal complied with all legal requirements and was not subject to any fraudulent activity
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane has threatened legal action against President Cyril Ramaphosa if he does not reveal the exact terms and conditions of Eskom’s R33 billion loan deal with China’s government-owned bank the China Development Bank.
Maimane has already made a request for the details of the loan via Parliament and is yet to receive a response from Ramaphosa. Maimane revealed that he would approach Eskom and ask the power utility to release the information publicly in terms of the Access to Information Act.
The DA leader said he was simply trying to ensure that the deal complied with all the legal requirements and was not the subject to any fraudulent activity. Maimane said the DA was looking to safeguard the interests of the South African public and would resort to litigation if needed.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Maimane wants to know the specifics such as interest rate, repayment terms, default terms, total amount payable and guarantees around the deal.
Eyewitness News reported that the deal was signed in July after Ramaphosa met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Eskom’s CEO Phakamani Radebe hailed the loan as a sign of trust and confidence in Eskom’s new leadership.
Radebe said the loan meant the power utility had secured around 62% of the funding it needed to remain afloat. He said Eskom would repay the loan itself and would not rely on the government to make any payments.
Maimane expressed his concerns about the deal after it emerged that Zambia’s national power utility Zesco was in the process of being wholly taken over by Chinese companies because it failed to repay a similar loan deal.
TimesLive.co.za reported that a report revealed Zesco had failed to meet its loan obligations and had now been forced into takeover talks with a Chinese company.
Maimane said this scenario could easily repeat itself in South African if Eskom failed to meet its obligations to the Chinese Development Bank. Eskom’s total debt is now estimated to be in excess of R600 billion.
Citizen.co.za reported that this means Eskom currently has more debt on its books than the South African government collects in total annual tax revenue which is estimated to be R556 billion.
Financial and economic experts have expressed concern about the growing amounts of loans which African countries have secured from China. Reports estimate the African continent currently owes around R2 trillion to Chinese companies which are largely owned by the Chinese government.
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