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By Ilse de Lange


AfriBusiness takes Eskom to court over Musina power cuts

AfriBusiness contends cutting power over municipal debt will only hurt innocent residents, while the fault lies with the municipality.

Business rights watchdog AfriBusiness is taking Eskom to court today to stop the utility from implementing power cuts in the Limpopo town of Musina because the local municipality owes it over R72 million.

Armand Greyling, law and policy analyst at AfriBusiness, said they would be applying for an urgent interdict to stop the utility from implementing the intended power cuts and to have these plans set aside due to legal flaws in the planning process.

He said they hoped the judgment would create a legal precedent which Eskom and municipalities would have to abide by in cases where municipalities defaulted on their Eskom accounts.

“Innocent residents will bear the brunt of such interruptions, even though the municipalities are the guilty parties. This is an inter-governmental issue that needs to be resolved between Eskom and municipalities. It is not a consumer issue,” Greyling said.

Eskom gave notice that it intended to interrupt the electricity supply to Musina from Friday because of the outstanding debt.

AfriForum earlier sent a letter to Eskom, warning it of the intended legal action and reminding the power utility of a number of court cases in which Eskom was interdicted from cutting the electricity supply to local municipalities.

Some of these cases were presently under review and AfriBusiness warned that Eskom would be wise to wait until at least some of these cases had been decided on before taking the ruinous and arbitrary route of power outages as a way to collect its debts.

The High Court in Pretoria last month interdicted Eskom from cutting the electricity supply to the Kgetlengrivier local municipality in the North West because of outstanding debts, pending a review application that must be instituted before month end. The court order followed an application by concerned residents of the local municipality, who objected to their electricity supply being cut despite the payments of their accounts being up to date.

Other municipalities at risk of Eskom power cuts include Koster and Swartruggens, Naboomspruit, Mookgopong, Barkly West, Vryburg and Secunda.


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