After successfully being admitted as an amicus curiae to court proceedings initiated by Resilient Properties and other parties against Eskom to prohibit the interruption of power to the Emalahleni Local Municipality, Sakeliga can confirm that all the parties have made their case in court and are now awaiting the presiding judge’s decision. Judgment has been reserved but the court indicated that it would attempt to make a ruling before a similar matter is heard in October of this year.
The Emalahleni Local Municipality owes Eskom upwards of R1,6 billion in outstanding tariffs, which led to the power utility threatening to interrupt power supply to the municipality and, inevitably, end users. Sakeliga intervened in the proceedings to argue in court that Eskom failed to adhere to certain legislative procedures, which would prevent the power utility from interrupting municipalities’ power supply. Sakeliga’s intent was to assist the court in setting a national precedent regarding the steps that government and Eskom need to take before power cuts are implemented.
Armand Greyling, Law and Policy Analyst at Sakeliga, explains: “Eskom’s decision to interrupt municipalities’ power supply is both irregular and premature. There are legal provisions which ought to be applied correctly to regulate how Eskom and the state should approach municipal debt of this magnitude. Municipalities are merely the collection agents of end users’ tariffs but mismanage these funds. Eskom is therefore not justified in punishing the end user for the municipality’s failure to pay bills.”