Eskom and Gordhan Face Legal Action After High Profile Lawyers & NGO’s Demand End to Power Cuts

Eskom and Gordhan Face Legal Action After High Profile Lawyers & NGO’s Demand End to Power Cuts

  • The South African government and Eskom could find themselves in hot water if they don't do something about loadshedding by the end of the week
  • A group of lawyers, political leaders and NGOs have sent Andre de Ruyter and Pravin Gordhan a letter of demand threatening legal action
  • The legal team demanded that loadshedding either be brought to an end or the government must explain why it cannot be stopped

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JOHANNESBURG - Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan could find themselves in court if they do not fix South Africa's electricity crisis.

Public Enterprises Minister and Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter
Public Enterprises Minister and Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter were issued a letter of demand calling for an end to loadshedding. Image: Waldo Swiegers & Michele Spatari
Source: Getty Images

This comes after a group of high-profile lawyers, leaders and non-governmental organisations issued the pair a letter of demand on Monday, January 16.

The legal team is acting on the instructions of the United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa, Build One South Africa (BOSA) founder Musi Maimane, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa).

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The letter demanded that loadshedding be brought to an end with immediate effect or a full explanation of why leadership could not stop the power cuts.

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If an explanation cannot be provided, the legal team claimed that the barely functional power utility and government must provide a specific timetable for when the blackouts would end and reasons for the timetable.

According to News24, the lawyers also demanded that the 18.65% tariff increase that the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) granted Eskom be scrapped.

Gordhan and Eskom have been given till Friday, January 20, to meet their demands or else legal proceedings will be instituted against the power utility and government.

Though Eskom has yet to comment on the letter of demand, the ailing power utility's spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha claimed that he would see if the legal department received the letter on Tuesday, January 17, Daily Maverick reported.

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DA calls citizens to protest against loadshedding and electricity price hike, SA says: "The ANC doesn't care"

South Africans weigh in on Eskom's impending legal trouble

Some citizens are doubtful the letter of summons will result in an end to loadshedding.

Here are some comments:

@peterdevey commented:

"Going to go nowhere. Since loadshedding started #Eskom has been protected from claims due to any actions related to safeguarding the grid which is a national priority."

@reketla_m claimed:

"What these concerned individuals and organisations stopped short of was obliging the government to review its 'imported economic policy'."

@LiuLiuLeeuw complained:

"Cargo cult Marxists like Pravin & Gwede break things. Everything these clowns touch ends in disaster. ANC only brings darkness."

@Mphephetwa28 celebrated:

"Now we are getting somewhere."

@Robin31876590 criticised:

"Just trying to be relevant with frivolous litigation. So if they supply a plan and timetable does it eradicate loadshedding? Waste of time proceedings."

ANCYL accuses DA of politicising loadshedding as party plans protest march to Luthuli House

In a related story, Briefly News earlier reported the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) has accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) of using South Africa's energy crisis as a political tool.

Read also

Eskom's looming 18% tariff hike frustrates many South Africans: "A revolution is needed"

This comes as the main opposition party disclosed plans to hit the streets and march to ANC headquarters at Luthuli House in protest of worsening loadshedding and the rise in electricity tariffs.

Over the weekend, DA leader John Steenhuisen issued a statement announcing the party's plans to march against "the ANC-engineered electricity crisis".

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