Molefe Seeletsa

By Molefe Seeletsa

Digital Journalist

UDM and co slammed for ‘wasting taxpayers’ money’ after load shedding case withdrawal

The applicants abandoned their load shedding case this week.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) and other litigants have been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money after suddenly withdrawing their court action on load shedding.

‘An insult’

Addressing the media on Thursday, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya criticised the applicants for their last-minute abandonment, saying government had spent “a great deal of energy, time and money” to challenge the litigation.

“This process has cost taxpayers’ money and to some extent taken attention away from the urgent related issues which government has to attend to operationally.

“The UDM, Build One South Africa [Bosa], Numsa [National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa] as well as others made government spend public funds and time on this gathering of information before suddenly withdrawing the application,” he said.

ALSO READ: Government appealing load shedding court ruling to avoid grid collapse – Ramaphosa

Magwenya suggested the withdrawal was “a slap in the face” and singled out the UDM.

“For all these applicants to take up time and taxpayers’ money to then simply walk away because they finally appreciated the detailed, substantive and indisputable response by government is in fact an insult to both the court and South African public.

“In particular, the UDM is well represented in Parliament where government continuously accounts to elected representatives of the people in working progress and challenges faced,” the Presidency spokesperson said.

Watch the briefing below:


The UDM and 18 other litigants had launched their legal action in a bid to compel government to exempt essential services like public health institutions and schools, among others, from load shedding in part A of their court application.

While the applicants were granted an interim order by Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in May, it was yet to be implemented due to government’s appeal.

The appeal was reportedly meant to heard on Monday, but the litigants appeared before the full bench seeking to have part B of their application removed from the court roll.

READ MORE: Supplying electricity Ramaphosa’s constitutional duty, not municipalities’, court told

The withdrawal means part B, which sought a court order to hold President Cyril Ramaphosa legally responsible for the human cost of load shedding, falls away.

According to Sunday Times, the applicants did not intend to go ahead with part B and instead sought some documents regarding corruption at Eskom’s power stations from government.

They also reportedly wanted documents on government’s decision to “accept $8.5 billion in loans from the US and other European countries with the condition that SA will close down its power stations”.

The court had ruled on Monday that the applicants’ notice of removal was an “irregular step”, thus, forcing them to either proceed with their case or withdraw.

‘Open-ended issue’

Meanwhile, Magwenya was once again quizzed about the two senior politicians allegedly involved in corrupt activities and organised crime at Eskom.

The Presidency spokesperson insisted the allegations made by former Eskom CEO André de Ruyter remained untested.

“That remains a very difficult issue because all we have in the public domain are wild allegations about potentially Cabinet ministers being involved, but the president does not have names nor does he have the details of those allegations with respect to the nature of transgressions that those ministers would have purportedly done.

“So it remains an open-ended issue of allegations that remain to be substantiated and properly tested through the relevant and appropriate investigations,” Magwenya said.

De Ruyter made headlines this week after Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) was informed that the former Eskom executive commissioned an “unauthorised” investigation into corruption at the power utility.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has not ruled out legal action against De Ruyter.

NOW READ: Unsanctioned Eskom graft report gains cautious approval

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