CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged on Thursday to speed up 230 billion rand ($16.11 billion) of support for ailing power utility Eskom, which he said was too vital to be allowed to fail.
In his first state of the nation address since leading his party to victory in a May 8 election, Ramaphosa said Eskom’s financial position remains a matter of grave concern.
Eskom - Economy - Table - Appropriation - Bill
“Eskom is too vital to our economy to be allowed to fail,” he said. “We will therefore table a special appropriation bill on an urgent basis to allocate a significant portion of the 230 billion rand fiscal support that Eskom will require over the next 10 years in the early years.”
In February the government pledged a 23 billion rand a year bailout over three years, but the firm says it needs more cash to keep the lights on after nationwide blackouts this year.
Trade - Union - Leader - Ramaphosa - Predecessor
A trade union leader turned businessman, Ramaphosa replaced scandal-hit predecessor Jacob Zuma as president in February 2018 and then was elected president after his party won a majority in May 8 parliamentary elections.
He faces a huge task reviving an economy that just posted its biggest quarterly contraction in a decade.
Actions - Impact - Speech - Economy - Jobs
“We need to focus on those actions that will have the greatest impact,” he said in the speech. “Our economy is not growing. Not enough jobs are being created. This is the concern that rises above all others”.
The economy slumped by 3.2% in the first three months of 2019. Unemployment — which has remained stubbornly high a quarter century after the end of white minority apartheid rule — is at a 15-year peak of 27%, as more and more young people enter the job market each year.
Reality - Unemployment
“The brutal reality is that when it comes to youth unemployment, we have to run just to...
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