Judgement has been reserved in the City of Cape Town’s bid for clarity on whether municipalities are lawfully entitled to procure energy from independent power producers. Picture: Siphiwe SIbeko/Reuters
Judgement has been reserved in the City of Cape Town’s bid for clarity on whether municipalities are lawfully entitled to procure energy from independent power producers. Picture: Siphiwe SIbeko/Reuters

Judgment reserved on independent power producers energy procurement

By Marvin Charles Time of article published May 13, 2020

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Cape Town - Judgement has been reserved in the City of Cape Town’s bid for clarity on whether municipalities are lawfully entitled to procure energy from independent power producers. 

The matter was heard in the North Gauteng High Court, having started on Monday during a virtual hearing.

The City had been asking for legal clarity for more than four years from the national government.

The current Electricity Regulation Act allows Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe to prescribe the amount and type of new generation.

The City has argued that it has a constitutional mandate to provide power to its customers, allowing those customers to choose the type of power they receive.

It has emphasised its plans and operations must be done in accordance with a nationally accepted framework and spirit of intergovernmental collaboration.

During his State of the Nation address this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced plans to secure energy supply, giving municipalities the go-ahead to buy energy from sources other than Eskom.

Mayor Dan Plato said: “We will now await judgment on this matter. The first prize is that we get the legal clarity required, via the court or the national government.

"The City has asked the court for a declaratory order to the effect that it does not require a Section 34 determination, alternatively that Section 34 is unconstitutional, alternatively that the minister should be compelled to make the determination called for by the City in terms of its energy planning.

“We are not only doing this for Cape Town but for all municipalities because local context and planning should also form part of the decision-making process.

"We thank all parties thus far for the very constructive arguments as over the years, the City had attempted to resolve the matter inter-governmentally, unfortunately to no avail. We are grateful for all progress made,” he added.

The Centre for Environmental Rights joined the matter as an amicus curiae (friend of the court), in support of the City.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus

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