This judgment provides electricity security at the local level, as it prohibits Eskom from cutting off paying end-users’ electricity as a tactic to recover municipal debt. Secondly, it reduces the impact of state decay, because all state institutions – and not just Eskom and municipalities – are pursuant to the judgment obliged to pursue intergovernmental dispute resolution in the event of intergovernmental disputes (as opposed to holding hostage paying third parties).
The legal precedent is based on arguments that Sakeliga developed over more than two years as amicus curiae (friend of the court) and which the High Court in Pretoria described as “new” and “crucial”. Sakeliga’s arguments focused on provisions for intergovernmental dispute resolution; the need for rational debt collection methods; and the status of businesses and the public as the real end users of electricity, rather than, as Eskom argued, municipalities.
Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd v Resilient Properties (Pty) Ltd and Others
Sakeliga’s role: Amicus curiae (friend of the court)
Date of last judgment: 29 September 2020
Court: Supreme Court of Appeal (leave to appeal by Eskom refused in Constitutional Court)