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    DPE ‘seeking legal advice’ amid litigation over electricity tariff hike, load shedding

    January 19, 2023 - Citizen Reporter


      The Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) is consulting with its lawyers following legal action threats regarding Eskom's electricity tariff increase and load shedding.

      Several organisations has expressed their dissatisfaction about the approval of an 18.65% tariff hike for Eskom as the country's current energy crisis continues to affect households and business.

      Political parties and a group of law firms have threatened to take the government and Eskom to court if their demands to end load shedding and stop the implementation of the tariff increase are not met by Friday.

      'In due course'

      The Department of Public Enterprises has since noted the organisation's letter of demand.

      "The department is still considering the letter and seeking legal advice on the matter and will respond in due course," the DPE said in a statement.

      With Eskom having battling to keep the lights on for several weeks, the department insisted that the power utility was working to mitigate the impact of load shedding on the country.

      READ MORELoad shedding driving small businesses to bankruptcy

      "We want to assure the public that everything possible is being done to end or minimise load shedding," the department said.

      "However, those who are a part of corruption, intimidation and abuse of procurement practices or obstruct government's efforts to clean up each power station of such corruption, will face the full might of the law.

      "All South Africans must unite to eliminate this corruption. At the same time, Eskom is in the process of finalising its plans to take further urgent steps to stabilise the power station's performance and reliability," the DPE added.

      Eskom has also confirmed that the utility has received a letter of demand from Mabuza Attorneys.

      "Eskom will assess the content of the letter and respond accordingly," Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said on Tuesday.


      Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) says Eskom's price hike was far above inflation and excessive adding that the increase will leave people having to choose between buying food or electricity.

      DA leader John Steenhuisen said on Tuesday that the party is seeking an interdict with the new revised tariffs and prices set to be effective from 1 April.

      Steenhuisen indicated that the DA has asked the courts to have the National Energy Regulator of South Africa's (Nersa) decision declared inconsistent with the Constitution, invalid and set aside.

      The party also wants an end to the continuous implementation of load shedding.

      "[The DA is seeking relief] to have government's response to the ongoing energy crisis declared inconsistent with the Constitution and invalid," he said.

      Steenhuisen further said the DA was of the view that the government has failed in its obligational duty to provide energy to South Africans.

      "As part of this application, we will also ask that the court direct government to file, within 30 days, a comprehensive plan, including short-term, medium-term and long-term steps, to avert the energy crisis."

      The DA is expected to march to the African National Congress' (ANC) headquarters at Luthuli House in Johannesburg, to demonstrate against rolling power cuts and the latest electricity tariff increase.

      The march is planned for 25 January.


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