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Vaal River Development Association (Pty) Ltd v Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd and Others; Lekwa Rate Payers Association NPC v Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd and Others (31813/20) [2020] ZAGPPHC 429

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Vaal River Development Association (Pty) Ltd v Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd and Others; Lekwa Rate Payers Association NPC v Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd and Others (31813/20) [2020] ZAGPPHC 429

4th September 2020

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1. The applicants are bodies that represent persons who reside and conduct business in towns within the Ngwathe Municipality in the Free State Province and the Lekwa Municipality in the Mpumalanga Province.

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2. The applicants both seek interim orders, pending the institution of review proceedings to compel the first respondent – Eskom, the sole supplier of electricity to the municipalities, to inter alia restore the supply of electricity to those municipalities at levels enjoyed before this was reduced to within the Notified Maximum Demand (“NMD”) as provided for in the contracts entered into between Eskom and the municipalities. The reductions were effected in June/July of this year.

3. Both applications were brought as a matter of urgency.  The application in respect of Ngwathe was heard first on the issue of urgency and the court ordered that the parties should approach the office of the deputy judge president for the allocation of a court to hear the matter urgently.  Thereafter, the application in respect of Lekwa was brought, substantially on the same grounds and the deputy judge president then ordered that both matters be heard at the same time.

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4. After having read all the papers in both matters I formed the prima facie view that both applications were urgent and merited a hearing.   When the hearing commenced, the applicants proceeded to argue the merits. 

5. At the conclusion of the argument for the applicants, counsel for Eskom applied for my recusal. The application was made from the bar and was opposed. The application was premised on the “reasonable apprehension” that Eskom would not be given a fair hearing.

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