AgriSA gathering information on Salga’s bid to give municipalities rights to distribute electricity

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Agri South Africa (AgriSA) says it is busy gathering information on the South African Local Government Association (Salga)’s bid to give municipalities exclusive rights to distribute and sell electricity throughout South Africa.

This would prevent farmers from buying electricity directly from Eskom.

The bid is said to be in an effort to boost municipal fiscals, but some farmers have already expressed concerns over municipalities’ capacity to deliver services.

AgriSA Vice-President, Nicol Jansen says, “AgriSA is aware of the application of Salga in terms of the distribution of electricity in future. We are busy gathering all the information, the relevant information so that we know exactly the extent of the application.”

“AgriSA will also engage with Eskom in this regard so that we can make sure that we understand what Eskom’s view point is on this application, exactly what effect it will have on the agricultural sector and then we will take informed decision on the way forward,” Jansen adds.

Friend of the court

Meanwhile, in January, Sakeliga instructed its lawyers to apply to be joined as friend of the court in a court case where the applicant, Salga, is requesting a declaratory order to grant municipalities exclusive rights to distribute electricity within their jurisdictions.

Sakeliga is opposed to the proposition that municipalities should enjoy such exclusive rights to be the middleman without exception in the supply and distribution of electricity.

Salga is objecting to Eskom and private suppliers supplying electricity directly to end-users without an authorising agreement with the relevant municipalities.

Salga relies on Part B of Schedule 4 to the Constitution, which identifies electricity supply systems as an “executive functional competence” of local governments, arguing that, consequently, municipalities have the exclusive right to supply electricity.