DA leader Mmusi Maimane
Image: File

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says he will submit a request to Eskom in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to obtain the full terms and conditions of the R33bn loan agreement the power utility recently signed with China Development Bank (CDB).

Maimane said on August 24‚ he wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa requesting that he table the loan agreement‚ with all its material terms and conditions‚ in the National Assembly within 14 days.

“The president has yet to do so‚” Maimane said.

Maimane said he would therefore submit a request to Eskom 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.”

Maimane said the country’s repayment liability could not remain 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 (terms and conditions) of the Eskom-CDB loan.”

Maimane said an Africa Confidential report published this week‚ titled ‘Bonds‚ Bills and ever bigger debts’‚ showed that the Zambian state electricity company Zesco was already in talks about a takeover from a Chinese company.

The report said the long-term outcome could be effective Chinese ownership of Zesco and potentially the biggest loss of national sovereignty since independence.

Maimane said China’s debt-trap diplomacy had already trapped the Zambian power utility and would no doubt be as ruthless with South Africa’s power utility if Eskom defaulted on the R33-billion loan from the CDB.

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