Eskom Power Disconnection: The Pretoria High Court this week, upheld Eskom’s constitutional right to interrupt electricity of defaulting municipalities.
Handing down judgement, the court dismissed applications by AfriForum and other businesses to have Eskom’s scheduled electricity interruptions to defaulting municipalities declared unconstitutional.
AfriForum, Astral, Bridgestone, and Mediclinic had approached the court, requesting it to stop the parastatal from using its constitutional right of scheduled interruptions to recover the overdue debt in the following municipalities – Madibeng, Lekwa and Kamiesberg.
During court appearances on May 2 and 3, the aforementioned groups, in their applications, pressed for Eskom’s scheduled interruption to be set aside and considered unlawful.
They argued that Eskom has no constitutional right to interrupt the supply of electricity to any local authority as a means to collect acknowledged debts owed to it.
The parties also sought interdicts restraining Eskom from exercising such power without, in each instance, first obtaining an order of court authorising it to do so and orders reviewing.
Reacting to the victory, Eskom’s legal head Suzanne Daniels said the ruling means that Eskom has the right to use its powers to disconnect municipalities and customers, in cases where they fail to honour payment agreements.
“This victory is a critical step in the sustainability of Eskom given the levels of indebtedness within the municipal sphere. As a key enabler of the economy, Eskom’s sustainability is vital for the development of our nation.”
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown’s leadership has been called into question following the crisis rocking Eskom.
The fresh scandal starring the parastatal at the face was triggered by former Eskom boss Molefe Brian’s return and the revelation that he never resigned from Eskom but was on ‘extended long leave’ while moonlighting as an ANC MP.
BuzzSouthAfrica recalls that on November 11, 2016, Molefe issued a statement in which he wrote: “I have‚ in the interests of good corporate governance‚ decided to leave my employ at Eskom from 1 January 2017. I do so voluntarily…”
His resignation was also confirmed by Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown on the same day in a statement that read: “Mr Group Chief Executive Brian Molefe today announced his resignation, with effect from 1 January 2017 as Group Chief Executive of Eskom…”
The controversial story of Molefe’s early retirement was revealed last week in court papers. Eskom announced this week that its forensic team has launched an investigation into Brian Molefe’s reappointment as CEO.
The DA also revealed in Parliament that there were claims Eskom has been shredding some documents regarding Molefe’s return saga.