Carol Paton Editor at large
Picture: 123RF/PETKOV
Picture: 123RF/PETKOV

The City of Cape Town, which was seeking the right through the courts to procure electricity directly from independent power producers (IPPs), has been told by judge Leonie Windell that it must first attempt to settle matters directly with the department of mineral resources and energy.

The city has been trying since 2015 to procure its own sources of renewable energy to provide a more reliable and greener energy supply in the context of SA’s ongoing electricity supply shortages.

In an application before the high court in Pretoria, the city argues that it has a constitutional right to procure energy in any manner it deems fit, without the consent of the minister.

Regulations under the Electricity Regulation Act require that before any energy generation plan can be licensed, the minister must make a determination under section 34 of the legislation. Minister Gwede Mantashe and the National Energy Regulator of SA opposed the application.

On Tuesday, Windell postponed the matter on the grounds that the city has not attempted to first resolve the issue using inter-governmental dispute mechanisms stipulated in the constitution.

Windell referred the disputes back to the parties in terms of section 41 (3) of the constitution.

In the event of the dispute having been declared a formal inter-governmental dispute and all efforts to settle it unsuccessful, “any party may apply to the court to re-enroll this application for hearing”, the judgment reads.

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