South Africa takes on power firm’s debt amid crisis

South Africa’s government says it will take on nearly two-thirds of the struggling state power company’s total debt of $23bn (£19bn).

This comes as breakdowns at Eskom’s power plants have led to unprecedented power cuts that are damaging the country’s economy.

The national treasury decision should free up money for spending on maintenance, transmission and distribution.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster over the energy crisis earlier this month – a move which allows the government to take emergency measures to intervene.

Eskom has been plagued by corruption and mismanagement. It has received more than $14bn worth of bailouts since 2008.

The latest move by the government comes as the outgoing Eskom chief executive, who was due to exit the company next month, leaves with immediate effect.

In an interview with a local TV station on Monday, Mr De Ruyter had questioned the government’s ability to deal with the corruption at the utility firm.

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