Contrary to earlier media reports, the High Court in Pretoria has not granted an interdict preventing Eskom from signing the 27 outstanding power producer agreements (PPAs). Instead, the court decided to postpone the matter until 27 March when the matter will be heard in full.
The minister of energy, Jeff Radebe, announced on 8 March 2018, that the Power Purchase Agreements and Implementation Agreements of the 27 Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Projects under Bid Windows 3.5 and 4 would be signed on 13 March 2018.
On the evening of Monday, 12 March 2018, two nongovernmental organisations, Transform RSA and the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) approached the High Court in Pretoria on an extremely urgent basis, with only one hour’s notice to the minister of energy and Eskom as respondents, requesting a court interdict restraining Eskom from signing the 27 PPAs with Independent Power Producers.
After arguments were concluded, the Court refused to grant an interim interdict against Eskom or the minister but instead postponed the matter to 27 March 2018, giving the responding parties until 20 March 2018 to file their answering papers, and until 22 March 2018 for the applicants’ parties to file their replying papers.
In the absence of an interdict, and with the Court having expressly informed the parties at Court that it would not grant such an order, nothing prevented Eskom and IPPs from signing the agreements as scheduled by the minister. However, counsel for the minister informed the Court that although no interdict was granted, the signing will be postponed until the 27 March 2018 when the matter is finally disposed of in Court.
This undertaking was made voluntarily on behalf of the minister in the spirit of constitutionalism and the rule of law. As a result, the signing will proceed on a date to be announced immediately after 27 March 2018. The reports in the media that an interdict was granted are therefore not true.
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Source: EE plublishers