Bid to force court to declare Eskom power cuts illegal

A number of municipalities in Mpumalanga are in trouble, owing millions to Eskom.

A power cut implemented by Eskom as a result of money owed by the Thaba Chweu municipality in Lydenburg is seeing businesspeople rushing to court to force Eskom to stop it as they say this is violating the constitutional rights of the communities there.

Three chambers of commerce in the area – one in Lydenburg, another in Sabie and another in Graskop -have approached the Constitutional Court against Eskom, Business Report reported.

The chambers want the court to declare the implemented power cuts unconstitutional because of the effects that going without electricity have on the lives of the people.

The municipality owes Eskom over R400 million and has failed to meet it halfway with the R80 million that the power utility proposed to avoid interruptions.

SEE ALSO: Mbombela next to go off..Eskom debt

Pupils writing exam, mortuaries, schools and hospitals were affected and the chambers say this is breach of the constitution by Eskom.

Two week ago, the High Court in Mpumalanga dismissed the case of the three chambers but they have now gone to the Constitutional Court in Hillbrow to ask it to intervene in the matter.

“This situation is exacerbated when the period is indefinite and the basis, therefore is unlawful,” they say in court papers.

“In addition to the obvious harms arising from no electricity, when the power is cut, all sewage works immediately come to a standstill,” Gert van der Merwe, representing the chambers, argues.

“This means that sewage is not pumped to the sewage processing plants but instead, simply sits for the duration of the cut-off, with the associated, serious risks to the health of the community,” he said in the affidavit before court.

(edited by ZK)

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