Law firms, political parties take fight to Eskom over load shedding



A group of attorney’s and political parties led by Mbuza Attorneys have written a letter of demand to public enterprises minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Eskom demanding an end to load shedding.

They are demanding that there be no load shedding without procedural fairness and a fair opportunity to make alternative arrangements to affected persons and businesses.

Clients

The clients include United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader – Bantu Holomisa, Build One South Africa founder – Mmusi Maimane, and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) amongst others.

The group is also demanding the 18.65% tariff increase granted by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) should not be implemented.

Demands

The demand comes as the country continues to suffer crippling blackouts that have forced South Africans and businesses to buckle under the pressure of load shedding.

The group said persistent rolling blackouts have “dogged” the nation’s electricity supply since approximately the second half of 2007.

“Continuous blackouts have become so commonplace and their damaging impact so ubiquitous that, electricity, once a reasonably accessible commodity, is now the preserve of the rich.”

“It cannot be disputed that the state, as represented by the Ministry of Public Enterprises and Eskom, has not taken any reasonable measures to provide vulnerable South Africans with adequate and reliable energy, whether electricity or any other alternative forms of energy.

In so doing the state has contravened its duty to provide energy as imposed by the Constitution, national legislation and contract,” they said.

ALSO READ: ‘Change government to save SA from load shedding’ – Holomisa

Right to power

The group added that ordinary South Africans have a right to power or an alternative source of power.

“Eskom was created to give effect to that right. The impact of the unilateral reduction in load capacity has been to withhold electricity from municipalities, who in turn cannot distribute powers to ratepayers falling in their district, undermining the plethora of constitutional rights.”

Legal action 

The group of attorneys said the intend is to pursue a court challenge if their demands are not met.

“In the event that the undertakings sought are not provided by 20 January 2023, we are instructed to inform you, as we hereby do, that application will be made to a court of competent jurisdiction to secure appropriate relief.”

“If we are compelled to bring proceedings which we hope to avoid, papers shall be lodged on 23 January 2023 for urgent relief,” they said.

On Monday, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the deepening energy crisis had forced President Cyril Ramaphosa to cancel his working visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

Read the letter of demand:

Eskom responds

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha confirmed that the parastatal has received a letter of demand from Mabuza Attorneys.

“Eskom will assess the content of the letter and respond accordingly,” Mantshantsha said.

ALSO READ: Slight relief for South Africans as load shedding is reduced


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