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Eskom secures court order against City of Joburg



Eskom has taken significant legal action against the City of Johannesburg, obtaining a court order demanding the municipality settle its mounting debt of over R1 billion, which has ballooned to R3.4 billion due to accrued interest. This legal move underscores Eskom’s determination to reclaim the substantial funds owed by the city, which have placed significant strain on the utility’s financial stability.

Court Order and Debt Details

In a statement, Eskom revealed that it had issued a letter to the City of Johannesburg and City Power, demanding full payment of the R3.4 billion debt by June 21, 2024. Eskom expressed hope that the municipality would respect the court’s decision and settle all outstanding debts. The utility highlighted that Joburg City Power started defaulting on payments in October 2023, and no payments had been made since March 2024, leading to an unprecedented level of debt.

Counterclaim and Court Ruling

When the case was heard, the City of Johannesburg brought a counterclaim against Eskom for the same amount, alleging potential over-billing. The municipality applied for an automatic set-off against Eskom’s electricity account, essentially seeking to offset its debt against the alleged overcharges. However, the court dismissed this counterclaim with costs, reinforcing Eskom’s position and dismissing the city’s attempt to negate its debt through alleged billing discrepancies.

Financial Impact on Eskom

Eskom emphasized that the debt owed by City Power is exacerbating its already strained financial situation. This growing debt not only undermines Eskom’s financial sustainability but also hampers its ability to maintain essential infrastructure, invest in new technologies, and meet the rising energy demands of the province. The utility stressed the critical nature of this debt, highlighting the broader implications for energy supply and infrastructure development.

Debt Collection Efforts

Since the previous year, officials from Joburg City Power have been actively engaging in a debt collection drive. This initiative involves disconnecting electricity at businesses and residences with substantial unpaid electricity bills. These efforts aim to recover billions in outstanding debts, addressing the financial shortfall and attempting to stabilize the city’s fiscal responsibilities to its suppliers, particularly Eskom.


Broader Context

The financial tension between Eskom and the City of Johannesburg reflects broader challenges within South Africa’s energy sector. Eskom’s financial woes are well-documented, with the utility struggling to manage its substantial debt while ensuring reliable electricity supply across the country. The situation with Johannesburg’s debt adds another layer of complexity, underscoring the need for robust financial management and accountability at both municipal and national levels.


Eskom’s legal victory against the City of Johannesburg marks a critical step in addressing the substantial debt owed by the municipality. As the deadline for payment approaches, the outcome of this financial dispute will significantly impact both Eskom’s financial health and the City of Johannesburg’s fiscal management. The situation highlights the broader challenges facing South Africa’s energy sector and the urgent need for effective financial strategies to ensure sustainable energy supply and infrastructure development.

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