De Beer Attorneys announced that it is preparing a damages claim for business who suffered losses due to load-shedding this year.
The law firm released a statement in April, announcing it would take legal action against Eskom in the form of a class-action lawsuit, and over 400 businesses have joined the firm in its initiative.
It should be noted that Eskom also issued a statement last month, saying that it has the authority to legally interrupt the supply of power to prevent a blackout or energy crisis.
“Eskom reserves the right interrupt supply of electricity either through load-shedding, unplanned outages, and planned outages.”
The utility noted that load-shedding is done countrywide as a controlled measure to prevent national blackouts.
However, De Beer has countered this argument by holding “corrupt Eskom directors” accountable for the necessity of load-shedding.
“The actionable conduct includes the fraudulent, unlawful and reckless acts of individual directors that resulted in the deterioration of Eskom’s generation infrastructure to such an extent that load shedding became a necessity,” the firm said.
“Given recent revelations during the Zondo Commission of Enquiry on State Capture, it seems that several key office bearers at Eskom have been involved in corrupt activities at the parastatal in the past.”
De Beer Attorneys said a legal duty exists on the part of the responsible directors to recoup at least some of the losses that local businesses have suffered.
“We have received an overwhelming response from local organisations who support this endeavour,” said De Beer Attorneys senior associate Abduraouph Kamaar.
“They are fed up with corruption and having their livelihoods compromised as a result of malfeasance. The problems at Eskom are far from over and “load shedding” is 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,” he said.
De Beer Attorneys said the fact that Eskom is an organ of state which is obliged through its board of directors to conduct its business in the public interest, may persuade a court to recognise a legal duty on the part of the directors not to recklessly cause loss to consumers through their fraudulent conduct.