Flash Briefing: Sasria struggles to pay up; Eskom’s debt threatens ‘green vision’; ANC/DA spat

  • Businesses and insurers are appealing to the government to work faster in paying out for damages sustained during the July riots, saying that many are desperate for cash to get their operations back up and running. While the state, through its insurer Sasria, has enough funding to pay out, with so many claims, it does not have the capacity to address them quickly. The insurance industry has suggested that 30% of each claim be paid out immediately, so big businesses at least have some capital to restart while Sasria processes everything. This would mitigate long-term losses and help retain jobs.
  • The head of South Africa’s state power utility needs to substantially reduce its R402bn of debt to realise his vision of transforming the coal-addicted behemoth into a leading green-energy producer and create as many as 300,000 jobs in the process. Eskom supplies more than 90% of the nation’s electricity, the bulk of it from coal, and emits more than two-fifths of the nation’s greenhouse gases. CEO Andre de Ruyter wants to tap concessional loans from development finance institutions to finance renewable plants in exchange for accelerating the closure of some of its old, polluting power stations. But persuading financiers to fund Eskom will be a tall order, given that its debt is already at unsustainable levels due to cost overruns at new plants and four straight years of losses. 
  • The ANC says that the elections should be run fair and square and that parties shouldn’t benefit just because they could ‘muscle out’ their opponents. The party responded to the DA’s court bid to block the IEC from re-opening candidate registrations for the upcoming elections. The ANC said that the DA’s request is at odds with the Constitutional Court’s ruling – which gave the IEC room to change the pre-election timetable – and is also at odds with the spirit of giving voters the freedom to choose their elected officials. The ANC also said that the DA’s court bid is prejudiced, as the party’s leadership had already publicly accused the Constitutional Court of foul play, alleging it leaked information to the ANC.
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