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Ulundi municipality takes Eskom to court over crippling load reduction that plunged it into darkness

Ulundi Mayor, Wilson Ntshangase, said Eskom did not warn them. Picture: Supplied

Ulundi Mayor, Wilson Ntshangase, said Eskom did not warn them. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 27, 2022


Durban - The Ulundi local municipality is taking Eskom to court to force it to stop the crippling load reduction that plunged it into darkness over Christmas and Boxing day.

The northern KwaZulu-Natal municipality admits that it owes Eskom over R100 million, but it says it has made arrangements to pay off the debt, as such, the load reduction is unnecessary.

Load reduction is whereby Eskom goes beyond the normal load shedding and cuts off power to owing municipalities for a longer period.

In KwaZulu-Natal, two municipalities, Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) in the Midlands and Endumeni (Dundee) in the north, have already been hit.

In the case of Ulundi, some areas under the municipalities had a dark Christmas eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day as they were plunged into darkness for over 10 hours.

That left residents fuming, venting against the municipality which is now claiming that it is being unfairly treated, hence it is now running to court for a reprieve.

In a statement to the media on Tuesday, the municipality said it would rely on the recent Constitutional Court ruling where it was ruled that Eskom cannot implement load reduction to Lekwa local municipality (Standerton in Mpumalanga) and Ngwathe local municipality in the Fezile Dabi district in the Free State province.

The Concourt said load reduction was harmful to residents and if implemented, it violates several provisions in the bill of rights.

“Our Mayor Wilson Ntshangase always pleads with the people to stop illegal connections because that is detrimental to those who are honest and paying for it.

“It is an undeniable fact that the municipality does not get much in collection electricity revenue from residents.

“Despite that, we have made arrangements with Eskom to ensure that we service our debt on monthly basis,” the municipality said in a statement.

Ntshangase said the decision by Eskom was crippling since it was implemented without a warning to the municipality.

“This is about the lives of the people and we should put politics aside and do the right thing in this matter.

“I am very hopeful that our legal team will emerge victorious in this legal battle so that this torture which is aimed at our people ends,” Ntshangase said.

Eskom which is now being dragged to court, was contacted and it had not commented about this matter at the time this report was compiled.

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