'Eskom loan a burden to taxpayers'

THE controversy around the R28billion World Bank loan to Eskom raged on in Parliament yesterday, with the IFP saying the loan would be a financial burden to the already hard-hit South African taxpayers.

THE controversy around the R28billion World Bank loan to Eskom raged on in Parliament yesterday, with the IFP saying the loan would be a financial burden to the already hard-hit South African taxpayers.

IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said the public would end up paying tens of millions more for the loan because government had borrowed in US dollars instead of rands - which is exactly what happened with the arms deal in 1999.

"There is really no reason to have a dollar denominated loan when we could have a rand denominated loan. Our policy as declared by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is the devaluing of the rand, so we will pay off much more than we are borrowing," said Oriani-Ambrosini.

Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan said, however, that Eskom would go ahead with the loan earmarked to build two new coal-fired power stations.

She was speaking to the media ahead of her budget vote in Parliament yesterday.

Meanwhile, Hogan said the Eskom Board was interviewing candidates for the new chief executive officer, and would recommend someone "in the next few weeks".

She also vowed to take a hard line on parastatals' chief executive officers in the future.

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