DA lobbies against Eskom loan

2010-04-08 08:46

The South African opposition leader lobbied the United States and

Britain not to support the country’s request for a World Bank loan to build a

new power station, she said on Wednesday.

Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), told the

ambassadors of both countries that granting the $3.7-billion loan would fuel

corruption, as the ruling ANC has a stake in the company that won the tender for

the project.

“We are asking them to use their leverage and say they will not

grant the loan unless the ANC completely withdraws its 25 percent stake in

Hitachi Africa,” said Zille after meeting with the ambassadors.

Eskom, the state-owned power company, wants to use the money to

build a mega coal-fired power station to help increase its power generation

capacity.

“It is completely corrupt for a political party to make billions of

rands out of state tenders, when that political party is in control of the

state,” Zille said.

“If the loan is granted under these circumstances, the ANC’s power

will be corruptly entrenched and South Africa will become a criminal state,” she

added.

In 2008, South Africa was hit by rolling blackouts as the power

utility battled to meet demand.

Earlier on Wednesday, the ANC lambasted Zille’s efforts, saying she

was acting against the interest of the country.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said: “Zille is opposed to the

development of the country, the loan will help Eskom’s power supply. We happen

to be in partnership with Hitachi.”

Eskom has already received loans from several European financial

institutions. The World Bank’s decision is expected on Thursday.



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