The civil rights organisation AfriForum, as well as Eskom and the Lekwa Local Municipality in Standerton will possibly clash in court over the implementation of additional load shedding due to the Municipality’s outstanding account.
The power giant currently not only applies load shedding across the country, but also additional load shedding in the Lekwa municipal area. This leaves the Lekwa community with only six to eight hours of electricity per day. In many instances, consumers are faithfully paying their electricity accounts to the Municipality; however, the Municipality fails to pay Eskom. AfriForum instructed its legal team to approach the courts for an order to revise this decision if Eskom does not suspend this malpractice.
“Eskom cannot hide behind a contractual remedy and follow an unfair process by deciding to apply additional load shedding. Eskom took this decision – which creates extensive damages in communities – in the absence of any public participation process. Its decision is definitely unconstitutional and does not even meet the standards of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act 3 of 2000,” says Morné Mostert, AfriForum’s Manager of Local Government Affairs.
It is interesting that Eskom implements this clause wherever municipalities are already in arrears. “It seems that Eskom uses the clause to pressure municipalities into paying their accounts. There is a series of other remedies that Eskom can use, yet Eskom chooses to use the one that inflicts the most damage,” says Mostert.
Bronwen Pretorius, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for the Highveld, says that Eskom is now creating conditions in which it is destroying electricity consumption (by invoking the maximum demand clause). “This may possibly result in a power tariff increase. Eskom cannot create a situation itself, but later expect higher tariffs from consumers. It should follow a fair process that complies with applicable legislation.”