Afriforum takes Eskom to court to prevent switch-offs

File Afriforum says Eskom should not flip the switch on citizens in order to get municipalities to settle their debts. Photo: sxc.hu

JOHANNESBURG - AfriForum and AfriBusiness are planning to apply for an urgent interdict against Eskom on Wednesday to stop the utlity cutting electricity to eight municipalities that haven't settled their bills.

The organisations argue that this move is unconstitutional as it wil affect ordinary citizens.

Eskom has announced that it will cut the power on Thursday, 5 January.

READ: Unpaid Eskom bills weighing municipalities down

AfriForum believes there are other ways to recover the money.

Its lawyer Willie Spies says they have already been to court three times after Eskom informed residents that their electricity supply will be discontinued due to the municipalities' fail;ure to pay.

"Each and every time we went to court, but there was always intervention by either Treasury or provincial government, which undertook to settle the on behalf of the municipalities in order to continue electricity supply.

"Unfortunately it seems these municipalities still have a problem and, despite the fact that we're busy with a more comprehensive court application that will be heard in March -- where this practice of punishing everyone as a result of some -- will be tested in our courts, Eskom proceeded to give notices again over the Christmas season  ... and as a result we have no alternative but to approach the courts "

Municipalities in North West, Northern Cape and Free State will be affected.

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