Eskom has seeked legal advice in response to news that it will be faced by a class action lawsuit by law firm, De Beers attorneys. They invite businesses and other commercial interests who has suffered financial loss, to join them in strengthening their case against the state-owned entity. According to Constitutional Law Expert Advocate Michael Osborne, in the main, it is not possible to sue the state for failure to provide essential services. However, there are exceptions.
He goes further to explain that we do have a constitutional right to basic services, and if it can be established that this basic right was denied or hindered due to gross negligence, corruption or malfeasance, a class action might well hold water in the court of law.
Eskom spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe, has recently came out and offered the position of Eskom with regards to the class action suit. The legal advice received was that, in terms of the National Code of Practice for Emergency Load Reduction and System Restoration Practices of 2010, law firms initiating a class action against it has very little ground to stand on.
He goes further to quote the legal advice as follows -“In terms of the electricity supply agreement, Eskom reserves the right to interrupt supply of electricity either through load shedding, unplanned outages and planned outages. Load shedding is done countrywide as a controlled measure when the national grid is constrained to protect the power system from a total collapse.”