Ramaphosa spoke to the South African Editors’ Forum (Sanef) in Cape Town on Tuesday. According to Ramaphosa, South Africans are “not so good” with savings and pension funds are the main source of available money to help Eskom.
Eskom’s debt burden is above R450 billion.
“You have to go to the source of investment. Where can we obtain financing? We no longer have the ability to borrow more money (for Eskom), ”Ramaphosa said in response to a question.
The trade union Cosatu recently proposed that the State Pension Fund (GEPF) by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) should take over about R250 billion of Eskom’s debt.
Several other unions have since said they do not support the plan.
Ramaphosa said he understands why many people are concerned about the idea of using their pension to invest in a state-run business that is suffering a loss. But he says Eskom is in the midst of a turnaround plan and that the money will be invested in a “renewed, reformed, non-corrupt” Eskom.
Ramaphosa referred to the prescribed assets of the apartheid era when companies were forced to invest 10% of their money in government projects. This plan was launched in 1958.
“Where’s the money in our country?” Ramaphosa asked. “In our pension funds. The Reserve Bank estimates that more than R8 000 billion has been invested in pension funds. Can you imagine if 10% of that went to alternative investments – that’s R800 billion for Eskom and water projects.”