Picture: Neil Hall/ Reuters/African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - Ratepayers of Tshwane must be allowed to purchase electricity in accordance with the 2018/2019 tariffs until the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) had approved the increase for the new financial year.

This is according to AfriForum, which has launched an urgent application against the City in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, in a bid to reverse its increased tariffs affected on July 1.

The matter is expected to be heard on Tuesday.

According to the civil rights organisation, the City contravened Schedule14 of the Electricity Regulatory Act, which states that the municipality may not implement an increased electricity tariff without Nersa’s approval. It wanted the court to order Nersa to intervene by investigating the legality of the tariffs.

AfriForum said in court papers that Nersa must investigate its complaint lodged on July 1 that the City implemented tariffs in contravention of its electricity distribution licence.

It also wanted the court to interdict the City from charging consumers of electricity in its municipal area a tariff or price that had not been approved by the energy regulator.

“Tshwane is ordered to charge consumers of electricity in line with tariffs approved for 2018/19,” Afri- Forum said.

Tshwane and Nersa were served with court papers on Thursday, following the implementation of unlawful electricity increases.

AfriForum district co-ordinator Jaco Grobbelaar expressed displeasure at the City’s stance that council as the executive authority may implement the increased tariff without the necessary approval.

MMC for Utility Services Abel Tau believed the City was right to adjust its tariffs in line with Eskom’s increments on July 1.

“As the City, we’re doing what is correct and we can’t keep repeating ourselves. The bottom line is that the City can’t be sitting with a situation where there are no tariffs while there is an increase effected from July 1 by Eskom. I don’t understand what part of that they don’t understand,” he said.

He accused AfriForum of grandstanding, saying they failed to engage with the City on the matter.

“I’ve said on numerous times that we are open to engage. They haven’t come to me so that we can find one another and now they go to court.

“This has been typical of organisations like this, who want to grandstand. If they’re interested in finding a solutions they should come to the City,” Tau said.

While he said he respected Afri- Forum’s leaders right to go to court, he believed the organisation didn’t have a case against the City.

ANC regional leader Dr Kgosi Maepa weighed into the row, saying executive mayor Stevens Mokgalapa must intervene by stopping the increased tariffs.

Pretoria News