Sakeliga has sent a letter of demand to Eskom indicating that any attempt to cease the supply of electricity to the Tshwane metro, will lead to urgent litigation.
Sakeliga’s letter follows repeated threats in recent days by Eskom that it might cut all electricity supply to Tshwane because of the metropolitan government’s overdue debt. The threat by Eskom includes ceasing electricity provision to paying businesspeople and other users. Sakeliga supports legal and rational debt recovery by Eskom, not such wholesale threats that are both illegal and irrational.
Eskom’s threat to halt all electricity supply in Tshwane is a harmful, illegal and irrational method by which paying businesspersons and other users are held hostage in an effort to recover municipal debt. It is extremely disruptive to economic activity, because even those businesses and other users that did pay their accounts now still need to prepare for interruptions of electricity supply. And by turning off the power to businesses and others that have paid, Eskom creates a dark spiral of economic implosion that harms precisely the ability of those customers that have been paying their accounts diligently to continue to do so. It is unacceptable that paying end-users and a whole economic environment is so detrimentally affected by a dispute between two organs of state.
In our letter, Sakeliga refers Eskom to jurisprudence which we helped develop over several years and on several occasions, by which Eskom is compelled to apply intergovernmental dispute resolution and follow rational debt recovery methods. This was the finding of the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2020, in the watershed Resilient case against Eskom, in which Sakeliga acted as amicus curiae. The paying end-user’s access to critical services, which was paid for, may not be denied.
Sakeliga’s letter of demand emphasises Eskom’s constitutional duties and requests a meeting with the executive management of Eskom, to discuss alternative solutions. Sakeliga is in favour of rational debt recovery and strict, but lawful methods to curb non-payment. Should Eskom however decide to follow through on their threat to curtail electricity supply to the Tshwane metro, we will take legal action in the interest of our members and businesses and the public in general.