Businesses sue Eskom over power blackouts

Load-shedding in Pretoria leads to a traffic jam.
Load-shedding in Pretoria leads to a traffic jam.
Image: Waldo Swiegers/ Bloomberg via Getty Images

De Beer Attorneys say more than 400 local organisations, enterprises and small businesses have joined a class action lawsuit against Eskom.

The law firm said yesterday that it was now preparing a damages claim for individual businesses who suffered losses during load-shedding this year. In April, the law firm announced that it would take legal action against the embattled state entity.

In response, Eskom said the law firm had little ground to stand on. Eskom said it relied on National Code of Practice for Emergency Load Reduction and System Restoration Practices of 2010 as the reason why the parastatal could not be sued for load-shedding.

Nevertheless, the law firm believes there is a firm basis for a claim.

"Given recent revelations during the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture, it seems that several key office bearers at Eskom have been involved in corrupt activities at the parastatal in the past," it said in a statement.

"De Beer Attorneys believe that a legal duty exists on the part of the responsible directors themselves, to recoup at least some of the losses that local businesses have suffered."

Senior associate at the firm, Abduraouph Kamaar, said they had received massive backing from local organisations. He said the load-
shedding problem at Eskom was expected to continue for the next few years.

"South African businesses are dependent upon a stable electricity supply and are entitled to compensation for at least some of the losses they have suffered, if not from Eskom, then from the directors themselves whose questionable conduct has resulted in these losses," Kamaar said.

"They are fed-up with corruption and having their livelihoods compromised as a result of malfeasance."

Kamaar urged more businesses to come forward.

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