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Pretoria - The High Court in Pretoria has granted AfriForum an order stopping the Madibeng municipality from cutting electricity supply to Hartbeespoort, the lobby group said on Friday.
“The North Gauteng High Court granted an urgent court order (on Friday) to AfriForum in terms of which the Madibeng Municipality may not cut the electricity supply to any premises without 14 days' notice,” said AfriForum organiser Ian Cameron.
The court further ordered the Madibeng municipality to immediately reconnect electricity to all premises where power was cut without the required notice.
AfriForum approached the court on Friday to stop the Madibeng municipality from disconnecting the electricity in Hartbeespoort, in the North West.
It said the municipality had cut the electricity to almost 100 households since March 8, without the required 14 days' notice.
The organisation has been approaching courts to stop a number of municipalities from cutting power because they owe Eskom money.
On Wednesday, an interdict was granted by the High Court in Pretoria compelling the Matlosana (Klerksdorp) municipality in North West and Eskom to agree on terms of repayment of the municipality's electricity debt, and to halt power cuts.
AfriForum said the court prohibited Eskom from cutting electricity supplies to residents of Klerksdorp and Jouberton without first giving 90 days' notice to all parties.
The organisation made an urgent court application on the issue on Wednesday.
AfriForum official Ivan Herselman sought to have the municipality honour its commitments to Eskom, and simultaneously to prohibit Eskom from cutting electricity supply.
Eskom threatened to cut the power unless the council paid R91.8 million in arrears.
The two parties held talks on Wednesday morning, after which Eskom agreed it would not cut the power to Matlosana.
Mayor Michael Khauoe said an agreement was reached, and the municipality “honoured” the first part of the agreement by paying R47m.
But he said the municipality had no dealings with AfriForum and that the agreement was reached with Eskom alone.
“We have not spoken to AfriForum. We have no business with them.”
AfriForum said it was “relieved” that residents would not be left without power.
The court also instructed the municipality to report to the court on April 16 on progress made regarding the payment of the electricity account.
Eskom said it complied with the provisions of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, which required it to publish notices and give affected customers a chance to make submissions before it resorted to disconnecting supply.
About 40 percent of Eskom's total sales go to municipalities, which Eskom supplies in bulk, while they in turn supply electricity to households and businesses in their areas of supply.
In another case, the Msukaligwa (Ermelo) municipality in Mpumalanga was scheduled to meet Eskom officials on Friday to prevent it from cutting power to the town.
Herselman said if talks between the municipality and Eskom did not yield results before the cut-off date of April 25, the lobby group would approach the courts to oppose the disconnection.
He said Eskom had published a notice that the provision of power to the municipality would cease on April 25, because the municipality owed it R65m.
Mandla Zwane, the spokesman for Msukaligwa municipality, said he had not yet received feedback from those who had represented the municipality at the meeting. - Sapa