Opposition parties and South Africa’s biggest trade unions are due to square off against Eskom in the Pretoria high court on February 28 over load-shedding and the approval of an 18.65% tariff hike.
Earlier this month, the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) gave Eskom the go-ahead to hike electricity prices by 18.65%, effective from the start of April.
Addressing a media briefing, Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement, Mmusi Maimane, leader of Build One South Africa, and Irvan Jim, general secretary of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, said they would be filing a legal challenge against Eskom; minerals and energy minister Gwede Mantashe; public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan; NERSA and President Cyril Ramaphosa.
This comes after the opposition parties and NUMSA sent a letter, issued by Mabuza Attorneys, last week to demand that the minister, outgoing Eskom chief executive officer Andre de Ruyter and the government as a whole meet certain demands by January 20, failing which they would launch a court challenge against load shedding and the tariff increase.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) and civil society organisation Not In My Name International also confirmed they would be taking the government to court over the tariff increases.
Bosa’s leader Mmusi Maimane said it is unfair for South Africans to be subjected to high electricity prices amid rolling power cuts.
Maimane said he hoped the judiciary acts in the people’s best interest by reviewing Eskom’s implementation of a double-digit electricity price increase.
“We need a government that is accountable and our action in court requires the state to be held accountable for its actions on load shedding.”
The three organisations said they are requesting the hearing to take place on 28 February 2023.
Holomisa said when load shedding happens, many public hospitals lose the ability to provide proper services. Although may do have generators to provide backup power, it is not a sustainable option.
Source: Mail&Guardian, Eyewitness News, image from Twitter: @MmusiMaimane