Help fight against “darkness” due to Eskom power cuts – Thaba Chweu


You will be aware that Thaba Chweu Local Municipality continues to default on Eskom payments and it is believed that the account now stands at about R700 million.

In 2017, Eskom cut the power to TCLM and as a consequence, the combined Chambers of Lydenburg, Sabie and Graskop went to court to have power restored. The case was won and Eskom was compelled to restore the power supply. Predictaby, Eskom has lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

If Eskom wins the appeal, the consequences of extended power cuts in the towns of Lydenburg, Sabie and Graskop are dire indeed and will lead to untold hardship for all citizens in the area, including closure of businesses, large scale job losses and collapse of water and sanitation systems. Civil unrest will follow. This will affect all businesses in the Lowveld who depend on tourism in the area. The vast majority of visitors include that area in their itineraries. This will affect us all!

The previous High Court hearings and all costs were funded by York Timbers, to the amount of nearly R1,6 million. Unfortunately, York is not in a position to fund the appeal case as well.

The combined Chambers are therefore requesting all businesses, large and small, as well as individuals, to contribute to the costs of resisting the Eskom Appeal.

These costs are estimated to be in the region of R1 million. While this seems to be a large amount, if we win the Appeal, most of the costs can potentially be reimbursed.

Every contribution, no matter how great or small, will assist. All contributions will remain confidential. The funds can be paid directly into a Trust Account of the Attorneys of Record as follows:

Van der Merwe and Associates

Nedbank Trust Account

Arcadia Branch – Code 163345

Account No 1633397734

Reference: S570 (This reference is very important)

In order to keep track of the contributions and to confirm your mandate for the combined Chambers to act on your behalf, kindly send proof of payment to:

A LIST OF CONSEQUENCES IF THEY HAVE NO POWER FOR 10 – 14 HOURS PER DAY… this infringes upon Human Rights because:

  • Large scale lay-offs / unemployment will follow. 
  • Many, if not most businesses will close or go onto short time.
  • Those who can afford it and are able to find new jobs will migrate away from the area, leading to skills shortages.
  • Widespread poverty will occur.
  • Increased crime (crime likes darkness).  Cable theft will become rampant during the “dark hours” because there will be no risk to the perpetrators and our inept police force will not prevent this.
  • Widespread striking and civil unrest is inevitable.
  • Hospitals and clinics will be unable to render proper medical care, placing peoples’ lives at risk.
  • The babies, elderly and infirm who rely on electricity (e.g. incubators, nebulisers, dialysis, etc.) whether in hospitals or at home, will be severely negatively affected.
  • Children will be unable to do their homework in an environment that is conducive to learning (e.g. candle light).
  • Schools will not function adequately without power.
  • Services such as water and sanitation will shut down because in the short time that we have power (if any) it is insufficient for the services to catch up.
  • As a consequence reservoirs will progressively become emptier every day until they become almost dry.
  • When we have no water, sewerage cannot flow (it relies on a regular flow of water to keep the raw effluent moving to the sewerage plant).  If the water is off for any length of time, the sewerage starts drying in the pipes.  When water comes on again, it won’t necessarily move the dried sewerage and so the new effluent will dam up behind it, leading to widespread overflowing of raw sewerage in the towns, causing severe health issues.  Consequently, in the long run, the sewerage system will need to be excavated and replaced.  Our municipality cannot afford it and will not do this.
  • In Sabie’s case, there is every likelihood that raw sewerage will overflow into the Sabie River (currently one of the country’s remaining most pristine rivers), causing potentially significant pollution downstream all the way to Kruger Park and beyond, into Mozambique.  The downstream consequence of this is contaminated drinking water and crops causing diseases such as cholera, dysentery, etc.
  • The power surges when (if) electricity is turned on again will shorten the life of all our appliances.  The surges will (perhaps more importantly) have a negative effect on the transformers, pumps etc. in our already aging and poorly maintained infrastructure.
  • Sabie and Graskop will start dying very quickly because tourists will not visit towns with no services.  Consequently, the accommodation establishments and restaurants will close.
  • The tourism industry being what it is, will very quickly find alternative tourism venues and when (if) things improve later, the new markets are now already established and the old markets will not be supported because there remains a large element of distrust that tourists’ expectations will not be met.
  • It will take many years for the tourism industry upon which Sabie, Graskop and to a lesser extent Lydenburg rely, to recuperate, if it ever happens at all.
  • Traffic lights in Lydenburg will not be working, leading to traffic chaos at intersections.
  • Petrol stations (unless they have generators) will be unable to supply fuel.
  • The municipal offices will have no power and therefore, the (dysfunctional) municipal management system (for what it is) will no longer function effectively.