Ramaphosa 'most interested' in possible sale of Eskom power stations

Cyril Ramaphosa Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Cyril Ramaphosa Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is open to the idea of selling some of Eskom’s power stations to private companies to run.

"I am most interested in looking at that option. It will help the local communities in those towns, it will secure jobs," Ramaphosa said at a briefing of the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa was responding to a question about how Eskom would revitalise its business model and accrue capital outside of further bailouts.

He said he was not opposed to the sale of power stations after Eskom had been split into three units for generation, transmission and distribution. "Transmission will remain state-owned by definition, but in generation we have a number of players who can participate," he said.

Having more power producers generating electricity and selling to Eskom would "encourage competition", he added.

On a question regarding whether the touted bailout of Eskom by pension funds would be converted to debt or equity, Ramaphosa said this must still be determined.

Eskom has debt of over R450 billion.

"Cosatu has suggested the establishment of a special purpose vehicle that would house the debt... it must still be determined if that will be an equity instrument. They want government to underwrite that," he said.

Ramaphosa earlier said pension funds shouldn’t be "fearful" to invest in a "revitalised, restructured and revamped" Eskom.

According to Ramaphosa, the "social compact" deal for Eskom’s debt was "80% to 90% there".

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