Eskom scrambles to get out of contempt of court in Lichtenburg electricity saga

Issued by Leon Basson MP – DA North West Provincial Leader
15 Aug 2023 in News

Note to Broadcasters: Please find linked soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Leon Basson MP

The DA in North West is appalled by Eskom’s devious attempt to manufacture a situation where the entity is no longer in contempt of court in the Lictenburg electricity saga.

There are two transformers supplying Lichtenburg with electricity. Transformer 2 which replaced the vandalised unit has now been switched on so that Eskom can bring repairs to Transformer 1 which is apparently leaking oil.

In a desperate response to our final letter of demand sent to Eskom yesterday, Eskom is effectively trying to manoeuvre itself in line with the 2017 Mahikeng High Court judgement which ordered that electricity supply may only be suspended for repairs or servicing of equipment.

Eskom has exploited the entire situation in Lichtenburg as an unlawful debt recovery strategy since the start of the blackout 20 days ago.

The replaced transformer was indeed ready for reconnection on Thursday, 10 August 2023, however, even during a meeting on Friday, 11 August 2023, between the entity and the Ditsobotla Local Municipality, Eskom made demands for payment before it would resume electricity supply.

Five days have passed since the transformer was replaced and ready to be switched on, yet Eskom has refused to do so until payments are made towards the Ditsobotla bulk electricity debt of more than R1 billion. Eskom even wanted the municipality to pay towards the replacement of the transformer – its own asset. If ever anyone needed evidence for acting in bad faith, this is it.

We have instructed our legal counsel to place Eskom’s devious change in strategy on record and solicit a response before the close of business today. See letter here.

We have also instructed our legal counsel to expedite their preparations to bring this matter to the High Court as soon as an opportunity is available on the court roll.

The DA will continue to pursue this case to its finalisation.

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