Maimane to submit PAIA application for Eskom-China loan terms and conditions
On 24 August 2018 I wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that he table the full R33 billion loan agreement that Eskom recently signed with the China Development Bank (CDB), with all its material terms and conditions, in the National Assembly within 14 days. The President has yet to do so.
I will therefore submit a request to Eskom in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) for the terms and conditions of this loan to be made public. This record needs to include the interest rates agreed to, repayment terms, guarantees, default terms, total amount payable, loan amount, total interest charged and annual percentage rate.
South Africa’s repayment liability cannot remained cloaked in secrecy. If the President is as confident about this loan as he is about the government’s economic stimulus package, he should have no problem with disclosing the T&C’s of the Eskom-CDB loan.
In a Public Enterprises and Energy Joint Portfolio Committee meeting last week, Eskom Chairperson, Jabu Mabuza, committed to sharing a table of loans with the financial details, interest and base rates to the Committee, without the names of the lenders. It is already public knowledge that the CDB is the lender for Eskom’s R33 billion loan so my PAIA application should be welcomed by the Chairperson.
An Africa Confidential report published this week entitled ‘Bonds, Bills and ever bigger debts’ shows that ‘The [Zambian] state electricity company Zesco is already in talks about a takeover from a Chinese company… The long-term outcome could be effective Chinese ownership of the commanding heights of the economy and potentially biggest loss of national sovereignty since independence. China’s debt-trap diplomacy has already trapped the Zambian power utility and will no doubt be as ruthless on South Africa’s power utility if Eskom defaults on the R33 billion loan from the CDB.
President Ramaphosa needs to step out of the ANC’s era of the secrecy and publicise the T&C’s of this loan in the spirit of transparency and accountability.
Statement issued by Mmusi Maimane, Leader of the Democratic Alliance, 9 September 2018