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South Africa Seeks Legal Advice on $24 Billion Eskom Debt Burden

  • Treasury has issued a request for proposals to legal firms
  • Country is currently experiencing its worst-ever power outages
Eskom Holdings Ltd.'s Kusile Coal-Fired Power Plant
Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa’s National Treasury is seeking to hire a legal firm to advise it on how to reorganize the 396 billion rand ($24 billion) debt burden held by national power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., people familiar with the situation said.

A request for proposals from the firms was issued recently, according to one of the people. It comes as the department continues with technical work it began in March on how to deal with the debt that’s left the utility reliant on state handouts to survive. Eskom doesn’t earn sufficient revenue to cover its running costs and interest payments, and the company has subjeced the country to intermittent power outages since 2008 because it can’t meet demand. The people asked not to be identified as a public statement has not been made.