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City of Joburg and City Power appeal judgement to pay R3.4bn debt to Eskom

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Johnathan Paoli

THE City of Johannesburg (CoJ) and City Power have announced their intention to appeal a court order by the South Gauteng High Court regarding an outstanding debt of R3.4 billion to Eskom.

CoJ’s head of communications, Georgina Lefifi said she believed critical aspects of the evidence were not fully considered by the court in reaching its conclusion.

“It should be highlighted that despite City Power’s efforts to engage in mediation and exhaust all Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) dispute resolution processes to resolve the matter, Eskom bypassed these avenues and rushed to court to seek a resolution,” Lefifi said.

Lefifi confirmed that their legal teams have been briefed, the appeal has been lodged and said the metro and City Power believed that a full bench will find differently.

The court ordered the two entities, who have been in arrears and had defaulted on their debt since October 2023 were ordered by the court to settle the debt of R3.4 billion by Friday.

The total amount owed was R3.4 billion when the matter was heard in the beginning of the month, with the city responding by bringing a counterclaim against Eskom for R3.4 billion alleging potential over-billing and consequently applied for an automatic set-off against the electricity bill.

The court dismissed the counterclaim by the city with costs and dismissed the automatic set-off claim.

“Eskom has written a letter to CoJ/City Power demanding payment of the full amount of R3.4 billion by 21 June 2024 and we hope they will respect the court decision and settle all outstanding debt to Eskom,” the power utility said.

The utility said the debt owed by City Power had reached unprecedented levels, exacerbating Eskom’s already strained financial situation and that it was left with no choice but to approach the courts to have the debt paid.

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