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Monday, March 15, 2010.
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Shannon de Ryhove.
Making headlines today:
Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan says that the US government has reportedly indicated to the South African government that it would abstain from the Eskom World Bank loan vote in early April. The vote is expected to take place on either April 7 or 8, 2010.
The US had initially objected to the 3,75-billion-dollar finance package, owing to the fact that some of the capital would go to the 120-billion-rand Medupi coal-fired power station. The US said that this could conflict with the World Bank's climate-change policy guidelines.
The decision to abstain appeared to open the way for the loan, while demonstrating the perceived responsiveness of the US to South African, international and US environmental pressure groups, which oppose the loan.
Meanwhile, State-owned power utility Eskom says that power from the first Medupi unit is still scheduled to come onstream in the first half of 2012. Eskom says that there's been no material delay to the construction schedule.
Serious questions have been raised about whether or not the project remains on schedule ever since engineering contractor Murray & Roberts indicated that it had been experiencing significant scope changes and delays with its boiler and the civil contracts at Medupi.
The 4 800-MW power plant is being built as a cost of about 120-billion-rand at a site in Limpopo province.
Also making headlines:
South Africa is still waiting for a 2,9-billion-rand repayment from European planemaker Airbus, which hasn't acknowledged a cancelled deal.
Eskom is in ‘advanced', but confidential talks on five discounted power contracts.
South Africa's ruling ANC says its confidence in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has grown, contradicting its youth wing that said it was losing faith in the minister.
And, three suitors remain in race to buy Zambia's fixed-line phone operator Zamtel.
That's a round up of news making headlines today.