Court prevents Eskom from cutting off Musina's electricity

2018-11-20 13:32

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The town of Musina in Limpopo won't be left in the dark after Eskom was interdicted from cutting or interrupting the power supply because the municipality owes the utility money.

Sakeliga NPC brought an urgent application before the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, seeking to interdict Eskom from going ahead with cutting the town's power supply due to its municipality failing to make default payments.

The application was unopposed by Eskom who were cited at the first respondents. Other respondents in the application include the minister of finance, the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs and the national energy regulator of South Africa.

Clarity on process

The interim order granted by the court is subject to part B of Sakeliga's application where they want Eskom's decision to interrupt electricity supply to the town reviewed, set aside and declared unlawful.

Sakeliga also wants the court to determine what the process is to follow when a municipality is in default with Eskom.

Read: Here are the top ten municipal culprits not paying Eskom debt 

According to court papers, Eskom published a notice to interrupt or cut power supply to the town of Musina in a local newspaper on November 2. This was after a breach of a repayment agreement by the municipality made in July this year.

Sakeliga contested that it's unconstitutional and infringes on the rights of consumers to be deprived of basic municipal services because the municipality failed to meet its financial obligations.

"This is yet another example of a matter where law-abiding citizens, i.e consumers and end-users of electricity who diligently pay their municipal accounts to a municipality, find themselves in the untenable situation that, notwithstanding complying with their obligation and dependency on the provision of basic municipal services from the municipality with no other choices or alternatives, they stand to be prejudiced and affected," court papers read.

No valid reasons

Furthermore, Sakeliga said that Eskom gave no valid reasons as to the intention to cut power supply in the published notices and that the threat is illegal.

"It is submitted that the threatened conduct of Eskom in proceeding to interrupt the electricity supply the second respondent (Musina Municipality) is illegal and therefore falls to be interdicted."

Sakeliga law and policy analyst Armand Greyling welcomed the interim interdict, saying that this case will create a precedent where it comes to consumers paying for their electricity, but municipalities defaulting in paying Eskom monies due and owing.

Read more: City of Johannesburg, Eskom reach agreement to electrify Zandspruit

"We believe that Eskom is bleeding economies within these towns/municipal areas dry by interrupting power supply, as the companies situated within them are unable to continue regular business operations," said Greyling.

He added that their main arguments are entrenched in section 139 of the Constitution itself where it is stated that when a municipality is unable to adhere to its debt obligations, National Treasury and the provincial premier should be involved to intervene accordingly, as is also set out further in section 150 of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

'Innocent victim'

"We hope that in being successful with our review application, that a court will confirm the process to be followed before Eskom can act against a municipality to the detriment of paying consumers and the local economy, if at all."

"In the end these disputes between municipalities and Eskom have nothing to do with the consumer, who is actually the innocent victim in all of this."

"We hope to strip Eskom of its bullying power and have administrative justice prevail for the nation, and hold government accountable for this situation getting completely out of control," Greyling concluded.

Read more on:    eskom  |  polokwane  |  local government  |  courts  |  servcie delivery
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

HSE Manager

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R550 000.00 - R650 000.00 Per Year

IT Manager (contract)

Cape Town CBD
Communicate Cape Town IT
R330 000.00 - R458 000.00 Per Year

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.