City of Joburg fuming over Eskom’s weekend load-shedding

Mayor threatens legal action as lights go out across the city

Gill Gifford Senior journalist
Johannesburg mayor Mpho Moerane is threatening to take Eskom to court after the power utility ignored an agreement with the city and has gone ahead with load-shedding.
Johannesburg mayor Mpho Moerane is threatening to take Eskom to court after the power utility ignored an agreement with the city and has gone ahead with load-shedding.
Image: Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo

The City of Johannesburg is going all out to challenge Eskom's latest load-shedding that came into effect at 9pm on Saturday night and is set to run until Monday morning — and is now ready to take the fight to court.

Mayor Mpho Moerane is furious, claiming the city has done everything in its power to ensure that Joburgers would not be harshly affected, while Eskom remained set on ignoring all agreements as it continued with controlled outages.

City spokesperson Phindile Chauke explained: “This (latest set of outages) is after the city recently secured additional power supply capacity of 220MW from the privately-owned Kelvin power station that qualifies it for an exemption from stages 1 and 2 of load-shedding.” 

She said the city, through its municipal power utility City Power, had written to Eskom after concluding the additional capacity power purchase agreement with the Kelvin power station to notify it of Joburg’s added capacity.

However, this weekend Eskom went ahead and implemented stage 2 load-shedding from 9pm on Saturday night. Moerane lashed out after the lights went out, describing the sudden implementation as “an unwarranted decision that cannot be left unchallenged on behalf of the people of Johannesburg”.

“The city is now prepared to go the legal route to halt Eskom's blanket heavy-handedness against the people of Johannesburg, especially those whose Eskom accounts are up to date.”

He added: “When the city first reached out to Eskom to indicate our additional supply capacity, we were asked for proof in this regard, which we accordingly presented. However, the city never heard from Eskom thereafter until the announcement of the latest scheduled load-shedding ... to Monday morning.

“We as a municipality have done everything within our reach to ensure security of power supply. We recently went so far as to assist Eskom after it said some mini substations and transformers had been left unrepaired for months in mostly poor communities in Johannesburg because it was out of stock.”

When asked for comment on the City of Joburg's threat, Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said: “Eskom has no comment on this at this stage.”

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