Newcastle Municipality was successful in obtaining an urgent interim interdict against Eskom.
Judge Sidwell Mngadi handed down judgment on behalf of Judge Pieter Bezuidenhout at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday, reports Newcastle Advertiser.
Judge Bezuidenhout has granted the urgent interdict preventing Eskom from proceeding with disconnection of power supply in Newcastle, but has imposed conditions.
Newcastle Municipality has been ordered to pay a minimum of R30 million per month by no later than the 15th of each month, starting on October 15.
In the order that was presented in court by Judge Mngadi, Judge Bezuidenhout stated that it was not disputed that Eskom was entitled to payment for the electricity supplied to Newcastle and, if there was non-payment, that Eskom was legally entitled to disrupt the electricity supply.
“However, the situation is not that simple,” said Judge Bezuidenhout.
“The respondent (Eskom) is the only electricity supplier to municipalities in the country. It is also not the non-payment for electricity to a specific entity, but of a municipality.
“If the electricity supply is disconnected or disrupted at crucial hours it would have a catastrophic effect, not only on all the residents and business, but on the whole economy of the town… There would be irreparable harm to the first applicant (Newcastle Municipality) and the inhabitants of Newcastle, if the interim relief is not granted.
“It would result in the total collapse of the economy of Newcastle and would severely affect the citizens of the town, who pay for electricity.”
Lanxess CISA has been granted leave to intervene and was joined as a respondent in the court proceedings.
The matter was adjourned to December 6.