Business organisation Sakeliga will be heading to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), in Bloemfontein, to have the judgment that prohibits State-owned power utility Eskom from unlawfully interrupting the electricity supply to defaulting municipalities upheld.
On March 7, the North Gauteng High Court, in Pretoria, found in favour of Sakeliga, which was admitted as a ‘friend of the court’ to the proceedings initiated by Resilient Properties against Eskom, that the power utility first needs to exhaust all remedies available to it in accordance with the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act, before it interrupts power supply to a defaulting municipality.
The failure by a municipality to pay for electricity provided by Eskom, while the municipality’s residents have paid for such services as invoiced, amounts to an intergovernmental dispute which should be dealt with in accordance with the Act, rather than Eskom arbitrarily cutting power as a debt collection measure to force municipalities to pay up, Sakeliga asserted in a statement issued on Monday.
Last week an appeal was also granted in favour of Resilient, which is seeking to have such interruptions declared unconstitutional.
Sakeliga would remain a ‘friend of the court’ in the proceedings to ensure that the progress already made against Eskom in this matter continues to be enforced and confirmed by the SCA, it stated.
“We are confident that our arguments in the High Court will be confirmed on appeal by the SCA in that Eskom first needs to exhaust all remedies available to it when an intergovernmental dispute of this nature arises,” commented Sakeliga legal practitioner Armand Greyling.
“It is in the interest of both justice and South Africa as a whole that clarity be given as to how Eskom can and should deal with defaulting municipalities, while residents of such municipalities have diligently paid their accounts for their electricity consumption.”