The Treasury has been instructed by the government’s energy "war room" to probe and come up with proposals to secure greater private-sector participation in electricity generation, including, but not limited to, renewable energy. This will be in addition to the sale of state-owned assets to generate the ZAR23 billion needed by the utility to address its short-term cash shortfall.
The "war room" has asked the Treasury to investigate possible ways for the private sector to participate in Eskom’s business. Preliminary ideas, Treasury Director-General Lungisa Fuzile said in an interview after briefing Parliament’s standing committee on finance, involved the sale of power stations or an initial public offering of Eskom shares. "The question as to whether portions of state-owned enterprises can be spun off to raise money is on the table," Mr Fuzile said. "The Treasury has been asked by a committee of Cabinet to look into how this could be done and whether, in the case of Eskom, it would be more feasible to do it in relation to power stations or the entirety of the balance sheet of the entity. The private sector is currently involved in the financing of Eskom but only through debt," he said.
Energy analyst Chris Yelland welcomed such an initiative by the government, saying Eskom’s monopoly over electricity generation needed to be dismantled. The recapitalisation of the over indebted Eskom and the introduction of international strategic equity partners, who could bring capital, technology, new management skills and a new vision, were essential. Democratic Alliance MP David Ross also supported the unbundling of Eskom’s supply monopoly adding that "it would take financial pressure off the state by getting private investors to help fund electricity generation".