Eskom – as a state-owned entity – has a legal obligation to provide electricity to the people of South Africa, says Elaine Bergenthuin, Managing Director at De Beer Attorneys.
De Beer Attorneys is preparing to take legal action against Eskom for losses suffered by businesses and commercial entities as a result of load shedding.
If the business in question had a specific contract with Eskom regarding the provision of electricity, then Eskom's failure to supply power will form the basis of its claim.
If a business bases its claim on delict, then De Beer Attorneys will again need to prove that Eskom’s conduct was wrongful or negligent.
De Beer Attorneys expects Eskom to argue that load shedding, per se, is neither wrongful for negligent – in so far as it is a rational, responsible response to the electricity crisis, ensuring that SA’s electricity grid will not collapse, which would be an unmitigated disaster.
The law firm, however, argues that the electricity crisis itself is something which is of Eskom’s own making – due to its negligence in maintaining the electricity infrastructure.
As such, they should still be held accountable for the losses suffered.
De Beer Attorneys will evaluate each case on its own merits.
De Beer Attorneys is calling on all affected businesses that have suffered clear, quantifiable losses as a result of Eskom’s scheduled power outages, as well as public interest groups who wish to hold Eskom to account to please contact it at firstname.lastname@example.org.