- President Cyril Ramaphosa is adamant that there is no plan to sell portions of Eskom to private interests
- Instead, the embattled state-owned entity will look into forming 'smart partnerships'
- The government will continue to exercise control over the power utility
President Cyril Ramaphosa told the National Council of Provinces that Eskom will not be auctioned off to private bidders.
The Citizen reports that the state-owned entity is casting its eye towards playing a role in the future energy mix, leading climate change technology.
The president explained that Eskom will remain the leading power generator with the government continuing to play a massive part in power distribution.
However, Ramaphosa said there will indeed be partnerships with the private sector:
“We will be able to modernise and embrace the new technology in the process. We should also participate in climate change technology. Eskom must play a role in climate change technology. Eskom is too big to fail.”
The government plans to engage with private entities in order to participate in the development of new technology in the field.
Ramaphosa confirmed that some of the existing power stations had reached the end of their lifespan and may need to be decommissioned.
National Treasury has proposed that the state should look into selling these aged stations off, but this could pose a challenge according to the president:
“We have to decommission a number of power stations, but we might have another challenge to deal with the ramifications of the closure of the power stations.”
This would negatively impact the people who depend on the stations for employment, with the government seeking to avoid affected regions becoming 'ghost towns'.
The state is hopeful that entrepreneurs would come forward with plans to revive the stations and provide jobs for the locals.
Ramaphosa is adamant that this is not the time to place blame, but rather to seek solutions:
“They should applaud because there was light at the end of the tunnel. We are going to augment the Eskom board, deal with technical aspects and payments and the process to hire a new group CEO was underway."
Briefly.co.za reported that the utility is baulking under the strain of its ever-growing debt burden, currently at R440 billion.
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