Leon de Jager , Chairman of the Lydenburg / Mashishing Business Chamber, comments as follows on the Interim Court order granted by the High Court of Mpumalanga on the 27th December 2017.
– The Court ordered Eskom to restore the full supply of electricity to TCLM with immediate effect and may not terminate or interrupt the supply until the 31st January 2018
– Much more important is the order that the judge made against the Premier of Mpumalanga (being the tenth respondent in the case) – The Premier is ordered to report to the Court by 26 January 2018 on his considerations of the non-payment by TCLM and his steps taken to normalise the relationship between TCLM and Eskom. The question is, what are the Premier’s possibilities (considerations)
– Will he place TCLM under administration (yet again) all the previous instances have failed!
– Will he appoint a task team of experienced people to come “and sort out” TCLM?
The real challenge here for the Premier is that whatever plan he comes up with, it will have to be acceptable to Eskom and the Court
(that is the only way that he will be able to “normalise the relationship “ )
– The Premier is ordered by the Court that, in the event that the matter is not resolved amicably by the 26 January 2018, the Premier must give the court the reasons why he could not resolve the matter.
What does this court order actually imply for us as residents within the TCLM region?
Firstly, the Judge has placed the responsibility exactly where it must be ! The Premier is the “grootbaas” of TCLM as stated in the applicable legislation governing local authorities. He, as the head of the provincial government, is responsible to ensure proper local government. He certainly has failed miserably in his task up to now, the annual reports of the Auditor General and the Eskom account testifies to that in no uncertain manner ! So now the Premier must come and explain to the court why he has not done his job, certainly if he fails to resolve the Eskom/ TCLM saga. We are therefore waiting in great anticipation on the Premier’s actions and resolve before the 26 January !
The court further ordered that if the matter Is not resolved by the parties concerned by 31 January, Eskom may proceed again with the interruption of electricity to TCLM.
If that should happen, we as the residents of Lydenburg/Mashishing, Sabie and Graskop will know that the Premier and the Mpumalanga Government have failed us !
There is a plan B, should the matter not be resolved by 31 January 2018, the case between the three Chambers and Eskom (the fifth respondent) will go ahead during March 2018, as ordered by the Court.
SME representative organisation AHI has expressed its disappointment with government’s proposed Radical Social Economic Transformation, announced by President Zuma during his State of the Nation Address at Parliament in Cape Town.
AHI President Bernard Swanepoel said AHI recognised that transformation had been slow, but he expressed his concern that the president and government was not seeking market-led solutions. Mr Swanepoel said improved education and training and a thriving small business sector was internationally recognised as the prerequisite for solid economic growth and development.
He cautioned government against enforcing artificial ownership transfers and introducing new tender provisos which would simply lead to greater government expenditure and increased levels of corruption.
He again invited government to take hands with the private sector in a genuine search for economic solutions. Mr Swanepoel said the answer could not lie in measures which would scare off investors and further weaken economic growth.
Bernard Swanepoel is the President of AHI, the voice of small business for 74 years.