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No, China Exim Bank hasn’t taken ‘absolute control of Eskom power facility in South Africa’

Eskom is South Africa’s biggest power generator, providing 95% of the country’s electricity. The utility is struggling with debt currently estimated at R420 billion and South Africa has recently endured extended blackouts.

But is it true that a Chinese bank has taken over an Eskom plant after it failed to repay a loan?

The website Newsoweto published a story on 15 January 2019 claiming China’s Exim Bank had taken “absolute control” of an “Eskom facility plant” after a “default in payment” on a “R33.4 billion” loan.

The story was posted on Facebook, where a user flagged it as false.

Eskom loan ‘is not from Exim Bank’

Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe told Africa Check that in July 2018 the utility signed a loan agreement worth US$2.5 billion (about R35.3 billion) with China Development Bank – not Exim Bank China.

The loan is to build Kusile power station.

Story from fake Twitter account

Newsoweto based its article on a tweet supposedly by China Exim Bank, posted earlier in January. But the Twitter account @EximBankChina is unverified, and doesn’t use the bank’s official logo.

Phasiwe tweeted: “This is a Parody account. Eskom does not have a loan from Exim Bank China as suggested by the hoax social media post currently circulating. Beware of fake news.”

Research by AFP Fact Check confirms the account is fake and not connected to Exim Bank. The logo may be that of Exim Bank of Bangladesh, AFP says. – Africa Check (20/02/19)


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