No more load-shedding for hospitals, schools and police stations

One of the latest Pretoria high court rulings found that load-shedding constituted an infringement of constitutional rights and ordered an end to load-shedding at hospitals, schools and police stations.

The court has given the minister of public enterprises 60 days to ensure sufficient electricity supply to spare public health facilities, schools and police stations power interruptions.

According to reports, the relief was sought and granted pending the hearing of Part B of the case, in which the 19 applicants, among them several members of the political opposition, asked the court to declare load-shedding unconstitutional and “ensure a permanent cessation of an unlawful state of affairs”.

However, the court found that once electricity was supplied, even if only in terms of an interim order, that act of supply could never be revoked or undone.

“This might require the applicants to satisfy the requirements for a final interdict, being the establishment of a clear right, an interference and the absence of another remedy.”

Significantly, the court found that the applicants had done so.

They had established a prima facie right and shown that the interruptions to power supply created the risk of irreparable harm in the form of a threat to the right to life, especially of the sick and elderly in public hospitals.

“We find that this is the position, irrespective of whether the relief is characterised as interim or final,” judges Norman Davis, Colleen Collis and Jabulani Nyathi said.

The court traced the history of events and decisions that have led to load-shedding.

“In simple terms, the government had been warned (and had accepted) that it would run out of generating capacity by 2008 (which had happened) and in the 15 years since then, it has failed to remedy the situation,” it said.

Read a full media report here:

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