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The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) has signed a Collaboration Framework Agreement with the China Development Bank (CBD), which has already been funding South Africa's energy company Eskom, and Pipeline company, Transnet.

DPE Minister Pravin Gordhan noted that this agreement will enhance the sustainability of State Owned Companies (SOCs) as the funds received by the bank are used to develop power stations.

"We are laying the foundation for a more sustainable path to ensure that our developmental goals as a country stay on track," he said, SA News reported. "This agreement is also a sign of our commitment as government to create an enabling environment for our SOCs."

He added, "They are a critical lever to drive service delivery and economic opportunity to improve the lives of millions of South Africans."

The minister went on to explain that this agreement will create new opportunities for SOCs as this is a "culmination of the discussions and engagements that we conducted with the CDB during our visit to Beijing in May this year."

Gordhan said that the department is confident that this agreement will allow South Africa to better position SOCs for future growth, as the agreement will allow the country to leverage the exchange of expertise, technical skills, and other strategic catalysts.

The signing of the agreement took place on the sidelines of the 15th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg. During the three-day summit, BRICS member countries and its officials attended the event alongside CBD Vice Chairman and President, Tan Jiong.

Jiong also reflected on this agreement and said that this is one more step towards enhancing cooperation between South Africa and China.

"We view this agreement as one more step in our efforts to enhance cooperation across a range of key strategic sectors to enable further development that is underpinned by a strong relationship between our two countries," he said.

He added, "The CDB already has a close relationship with Transnet and Eskom, but now we also have the opportunity to work with the DPE in other areas of mutual interest, including mining and forestry."

On the first day of the summit, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa received his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping, and noted that South Africa is looking forward to enhancing its energy collaboration with China.

He also thanked China for supporting the country during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing personal protective equipment, vaccines, and other essential items.

Furthermore, China sent solar panels, battery storage, wind turbines, and renewables technology to South Africa in June to help resolve the ongoing energy crisis.