My prayers kept the lights on in 2010’ — man claims R250?mln

2014-01-23 00:00

MAHIKENG — The case of the man who is taking Eskom to court for R250 million as he claims to have prevented power cuts through his own prayers during 2010, is scheduled for the North West High Court today.

Nelson Thabo Modupe, from Boikhutso near Lichtenburg, argued that he prevented power cuts and load shedding during the 2010 Fifa World Cup through his prayers. He is a member of the Zion Christian Church.

Modupe said in a letter to Eskom the main reason for load shedding was lightning and wind, and that he had taken it upon himself to pray to God and ask that no power cuts take place from 2007, a time when frequent power cuts allegedly interrupted his studies at night. In one of the court papers, he told Eskom he could no longer continue rendering his services without payment from them.

His papers are not clear regarding what happened in 2008, when South Africa staggered under nationwide load shedding as the coal bunkers at power stations ran empty, but Modupe stated that he saved Eskom the burden and humiliation of load shedding during the Fifa World Cup in 2010, and as a result, the power utility provider now owes him R250 million. He gave the utility company just 24 hours to take up his offer for a partnership or face being sued.

Regional manager for Eskom’s sales and client services in the North West, Bandile Jack, had since thanked Modupe for his services but regretted to inform him that Eskom was not in a position to accept his offer for a partnership.

Modupe warned Eskom that non-payment of the R250 million to him would put South Africa back to dark nights and cold dinners as rolling black-outs will return.

When Modupe first applied for legal aid to sue Eskom on February 10, 2010 his application was dismissed by Legal Aid South Africa.

He then drew up his own legal documents and submitted them to the Lichtenburg high court. The case was placed on the roll yesterday.

Eskom’s 20 days’ grace to lodge a defence expired on January 16. Eskom only sent a lawyer, Kennith Nemaname, to Lichtenburg on Tuesday to hand in their legal papers. He was too late and the court refused to accept his documents.

Meanwhile, back at head office, an Eskom system status bulletin last week warned that its reserve margin, the surplus of electricity supply over demand, had sunk to the low hundreds from an already low 1 000 MW of available capacity of about 31 000 MW.

Eskom spokesperson Andre Etzinger said on Tuesday last week that as South Africa returned to work after the December holidays, demand had exceeded the expected demand by about 350 MW. To avoid load shedding, Eskom has in place agreements with large industrial customers to cut back on demand, and can operate some power stations at a higher level of output for brief periods.

These measures seem to be working — for now.

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