Johannesburg - Rights group AfriBusiness said on Thursday state power utility, Eskom, had undertaken not to cut power to Musina in Limpopo, narrowly avoiding an urgent court interdict over a move that would have impacted paying electricity customers.
AfriBusiness said it had made the urgent application after notice by Eskom on June 29 that it would be cutting power to the town on July 6 due to outstanding municipal debt. But after being served papers on Wednesday, the electricity company provided the required undertaking to refrain from electricity interruptions.
"Local municipalities across the country are in dire financial straits and there is no reason to believe that a temporary redirection of funds will solve anything," AfriBusiness CEO Piet le Roux said.
"While we are satisfied that the lights in Musina will remain switched on on 6 July, we are concerned that the settlement offered Eskom a way out of the legal predicament they find themselves in.”
He said AfriBusiness would monitor the situation on behalf of its members in Musina and other municipalities where Eskom was threatening to interrupt the electricity supply, and stood ready to "intervene in similar situations to develop the necessary legal precedent".
"A national solution is required to stop what is essentially the falling apart of different organs of one and the same state from harming the public," said le Roux.
"On the one hand we have paying electricity consumers and on the other hand we have organs of state who can’t get their act together. AfriBusiness will not stand idly by while state ineptitude ruins local economies.”
African News Agency (ANA)