AfriForum considers Eskom’s application of additional load shedding for municipalities that are behind with their payments to be unconstitutional.
“The power supplier is currently applying phase 2 load shedding nationwide due to a shortage of generating capacity. In addition, in the case of certain municipalities, additional load shedding is also applied, ”said Morné Mostert, Manager for Local Government Affairs at AfriForum.
According to Mostert, residents pay their electricity bills faithfully to their respective municipality, but they then fail to pay it over to Eskom. “It leaves some communities with only four hours of power per day.
“Eskom cannot hide behind a contractual remedy and follow an unfair process with its decision to apply additional load shedding. This decision – which causes large-scale damage to communities – is taken in the absence of any process for public participation, ”says Mostert.
According to him, Eskom uses additional load shedding to put pressure on municipalities to pay off their arrears. “The decision is definitely unconstitutional,” Mostert said.
Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha says if all possibilities for obtaining payment from a relevant municipality have failed, it leaves Eskom with no choice but to comply with the contractual conditions for non-payment.
“This means interrupting or even terminating the supply of electricity, if necessary.”
He emphasizes that the interruption in power supply in such cases is always the last resort.
“Non-payment means that Eskom does not have sufficient cash flow to meet its financial obligations. This ultimately means that he can no longer supply electricity sustainably, ”says Mantshantsha.