Development News for the Global South
Post-Covid Development Dilemmas: Reconciling Sustainable Development, South Africa’s Spiralling Debt, and Big Hopes for Special Economic Zones ( Part 2)
Reviewing the state of the economy as the country eases out of lockdown reveals the urgency of public debate on government’s development policies and levels of accountability in its sustainable development strategies.
Starting with the ongoing evils of Eskom, load-shedding in August. News of the SOE’s deepening structural weaknesses, including aging infrastructure, poor maintenance and unsustainable level of debt, is no laughing matter, especially when government starts mentioning using state pension funds to disappear the problem.
To make matters more painful for the South African taxpayer, is how much of the money Eskom has borrowed over the last decade has been inappropriately managed. The World Bank’s 2010 loan of US 3.05 billion for what was advertised to be the largest coal fired power station in the world, Medupi, could be regarded as odious debt.
Medupi is still incomplete 10 years later, and the state of its infrastructure and maintenance is appalling, as Eskom’s Operating manager Jan Oberholzer, self-confesses.