19 September 2019 at 12:00 pm
CAPE TOWN: This morning, the Pretoria High Court granted the Centre for Environmental Rights’ (CER) application to be admitted as a friend of the court (amicus curiae) in the legal dispute between the City of Cape Town, the National Energy Regulator (NERSA) and the Minister of Energy. The case will determine whether municipalities have the legal power to procure electricity without permission – a determination – from the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.
Through its application, the CER will bring to the Court’s attention that, in addition to the Constitutional obligations of local government to provide affordable and accessible electricity, municipalities are also required to protect the environment, including people’s health and wellbeing.
“Local government has a Constitutional duty to provide clean and healthy electricity, which does not pollute our air, water, soil, or damage our climate. The City of Cape Town’s plans to procure clean renewable energy capacity would be aligned with these obligations”, says Nicole Loser, attorney at the CER.
The CER’s application – which is supported by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) – highlights the important role local government can and must play in decarbonising and transitioning the electricity sector from harmful fossil fuel-based electricity to accessible, affordable and clean solar and wind capacity.
None of the parties to the main application opposed the CER’s application to join the case as a friend of the court. The CER will make its submissions to the Court during the hearing of the main court application, which is likely to proceed in the first half of 2020.