The Tuesday launch of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) New Development Bank (NDB) presented South Africa’s cash-strapped power utility Eskom with hope of a new source of funding.
“Fortunately, we have now got other avenues where we can raise capital,” said Brian Molefe, Eskom’s acting chairman and the head of the South African section of the BRICS Business Council.
Speaking to the African News Agency (ANA) on Thursday during the Ufa Russia 2015 BRICS/SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) Summit, Molefe beamed when discussing the new potential for funding. This, after the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) recently rejected the power utility’s request for the approval of an additional hike in tariffs, exceeding nine percent.
However, with the launch of the NDB and its first regional office soon to be opened in South Africa, Eskom had — potentially — new means for closing its funding gap.
“We have got other avenues now and the Development Bank is certainly one,” said Molefe. Staying on the NDB, Molefe lauded the appointments of South Africans Leslie Maasdorp and Tito Mboweni to the bank.
Maasdorp, the president of Southern Africa for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and former vice-chairman of Barclays Capital and Absa Capital, had been appointed the bank’s vice-president while former Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni — whom Maasdorp had advised while in government — had been appointed as non executive director.
Molefe called Maasdorp’s appointment a “brilliant, excellent” one. “He is a seasoned banker,” said Molefe, “He has been through the mill and he understands the workings of government as well as the private sector.”
Molefe added that the appointment of Mboweni was an “inspired” one and that the way in which South Africans were deployed to the regional bank would matter most. He shrugged off reports of an impending nuclear energy deal between South Africa and Russia, saying he himself had not had those discussions.
“I have not had any discussions with anyone about Rosatom [Russia’s state nuclear corporation], or any discussions in general about nuclear energy and Russia,” said Molefe.
However, according to reports, the Department of Energy had on Wednesday said the two BRICS nations would embark on several education projects related to nuclear energy and would seek to raise awareness about the power source so as to improve public opinion