Eskom: High Court affirms Eskom’s right to interrupt electricity against defaulting municipalities

25th May 2017

Eskom: High Court affirms Eskom’s right to interrupt electricity against defaulting municipalities

The Pretoria High Court has confirmed the constitutional right of Eskom to effect scheduled electricity interruptions when it dismissed applications by AfriForum and other businesses.

“Astral, Bridgestone, AfriForum and Mediclinic had sought to prevent Eskom from utilizing its constitutional right of scheduled interruptions in Madibeng, Lekwa and Kamiesberg to recover overdue debt,” explains Suzanne Daniels, Head of Legal.

The applicants’ contention, heard between the dates of 2-3 May 2017, was that Eskom’s conduct, in all the cases, is unconstitutional, unlawful and unreasonable and should accordingly be reviewed and set aside.

The applicants’ sought different relief against Eskom in the following orders:

On the second day of the hearing Eskom and ASTRAL reached a settlement agreement in respect of the direct payment relief and the hearing proceeded with the matters of the three remaining applicants.

Eskom opposed all the relief sought on the other issues raised by the remaining applicants, arguing the mootness of all the cases and the legislative rights of Eskom to interrupt or terminate the electricity in terms of section 21(5) of ERA.

The court agreed with all the arguments presented by Eskom to the effect that section 21(5) is constitutional and Eskom is empowered by statute to disconnect defaulting customers, which includes the municipality.

“In granting the judgment in favour of Eskom, the court confirmed that any exercise by Eskom of the power in section 21(5) of ERA will be administrative action reviewable by the court on the ground of legality, reasonableness and procedural fairness under section 33 of the Constitution and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA),” Daniels states.

“This victory is a critical step in the sustainability of Eskom given the levels of indebtedness within the municipal sphere. As a key enabler of the economy, Eskom’s sustainability is vital for the development of our nation,” Daniels concludes.


Issued by Eskom