Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
Termination Of Electricity Supply Due To Non-Payment Of
An Electricity Account
A landlord may not, without a court order, terminate the supply
of electricity to premises leased to a tenant who is in arrears
with monthly electricity payments. This is according to the recent
High Court judgment in the matter of Anva Properties CC vs
End Street Enterprises CC (22109/2014, 14 April 2015). In the
absence of a court order, terminating the electricity supply would
constitute taking the law into your own hands and would thus be
unlawful. This judgment does not consider repetitive defaults by
the same tenant resulting in a potentially impractical position
where a landlord would have to apply for a separate court order for
Termination of electricity supply by a municipality
In the matter of Rademan vs Moqhaka Local Municipality
and Others (2013 (4) SA 225 (CC)), the Constitutional Court
ruled that the municipality may, without a court order, terminate
the supply of electricity to a property where the owner defaults on
its account for all levies charged on the property. The judgment
considered the provisions of the Municipal Systems Act, 32 of 2000
and accompanying bylaws, and, inter alia, determined
a municipality may consolidate accounts;
where an account is not being settled in full, an owner is not
entitled to elect how the partial amount being paid is to be
applied to the entire amount outstanding; and
a municipality has the right to restrict or disconnect
electricity, and this right shall prevail notwithstanding the fact
that payment has been made in respect of any specified
Accordingly, a municipality may terminate the supply of
electricity as a result of arrear rates and taxes. This may be the
position even if the electricity account is up to date.
Termination of water supply
Regulation 3 of the National Water Act, 36 of 1998 stipulates
that a minimum quantity of potable water of 25 litres per person
per day, or six kilolitres per household per month, must be
provided. Section 27(1)(b) of the Constitution stipulates that
everyone has the right to have access to sufficient food and water.
South African courts have ruled that no person can be denied the
basic 6000 litres of water per household per month, irrespective of
the state of their account. A municipality cannot disconnect water
supply completely; however, it may disconnect electricity if the
water account and other accounts for charges levied on the property
have not been paid.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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respondent – will avail itself of the opportunity to present
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