The business organisation Sakeliga today obtained an interdict against Eskom, preventing the power giant from interrupting electricity supply to Musina because of non-payment by the town’s local municipality. The urgent application was decided in favour of Sakeliga by Judge Khumalo in the high court in Pretoria and it will remain in force until Sakeliga’s revision application is heard by the court. It will then finally establish the legal principles for dealing with future power interruptions envisaged by Eskom in similar situations.
“What makes a revision application so important is that it could eventually provide a national solution for communities that are prejudiced by defaulting municipalities. Currently, there are more than thirty towns listed on Eskom’s website that face power interruptions just like Musina,” said Piet le Roux, chief executive of Sakeliga. “We cannot allow paying electricity users’ power to be cut simply because one arm of the state, a local municipality, does not pay its accounts to another arm of the state, Eskom. Sakeliga’s revision application is going to be a decisive test case that eventually will also be applied at national level in the interests of local communities and local economies.”
Meanwhile, Sakeliga has made a support page available on its website, where community members of towns plagued by similar problems can support the coming court case against Eskom on power interruptions.
Zweli Mkhize, minister of cooperative government and traditional affairs, recently in parliament reported that municipal debt to Eskom this year had increased from R13,6 billion to R17 billion in six months.
This is the fourth time this year that Sakeliga and Eskom have been engaged in legal action against each other.
- In May this year, Sakeliga assisted in preventing Eskom from interrupting electricity supply to the Kgetlengrivier Municipality.
- In July this year, in the run-up to an urgent interdict application by Sakeliga, Eskom reached a payment agreement with the Musina Local Municipality.
- In August, Sakeliga, as amicus curiae in the action between Resilient Properties and others versus Eskom and others, made unique legal contributions on the principles that should apply for Eskom in trying to collect debt from local municipalities.
A court date for Sakeliga’s revision application is still to be determined.