The multi-stakeholders seeking an exemption from load shedding for critical sectors in the North Gauteng High Court have argued that government has betrayed its own constitutional commitment for the provision of electricity aimed at restoring and maintaining dignity among South Africans.
The stakeholders’ legal representative Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi says the rolling blackouts has resulted in various human rights violations as enshrined in the bill of rights.
Ngcukaitobi says his clients, which include a number of trade unions and political parties, are asking the court to get Eskom to exempt public healthcare facilities, public schools, telecommunications networks, police stations, and small and medium businesses from the blackouts.
Presenting his heads of argument Ngcukaitobi notes that research shows that over a decade of load shedding, up to 2022, had cost the economy R1.2 trillion.
“R1.2 trillion is equivalent to the entire quarter of the country’s GDP and this far exceeds the budget allocated to the police, to courts, to prisons, to science and to innovation. So, that should put paid to any issues to rights that are impacted by load shedding now. Of course, this is not the case to end load shedding, the case to end load shedding is coming in Part B. This is a case for limited relief to mitigate the impact of load shedding whilst we all work out whether or not it will be possible for the courts to end load shedding through legal means,” says Ngcukaitobi.
Security is heavy at Eskom’s Megawatt Park in Woodmead North of Johannesburg. A Nyala and at least six municipal police vehicles are parked outside the power utility’s gate with public order officers with shields and helmets stationed just inside.
It was expected that protesters involved in the National Shutdown would converge at Eskom headquarters on Monday morning.
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