Tenants not Liable: Ekurhuleni Germiston Punished for Unlawful Disconnection

1 JUNE 2016

The Court has recently released a devastating Judgment against Ekurhuleni Municipality. The Courts were so disdainful of the Municipality’s conduct that they decided to sanction the Municipality by way of a punitive cost order.

The Municipality chose to interpret its powers unreasonably and effectively terminated the electricity to an innocent tenant. The Municipality attempted to read its By-laws that a landlord and tenant are jointly and severally liable. However, the Municipality did not follow its own By-laws properly and attempted to effectively pressure the tenant into paying for the landlord’s debt by disconnecting the electricity accordingly during April 2015.

The Municipality opposed the application which came up for hearing before Judge Twala. After the learned Judge heard the matter, relief was granted to the tenant. Ekurhuleni Municipality decided to take the matter on appeal.

A three bench Judge Appeal Court heard the matter and released the following Judgment on 1 June 2016:

“A punitive costs order, in my view, is the appropriate sanction to be
imposed as a mark of this court’s disapproval of such conduct”

“………For this reason alone the municipality’s opposition to the urgent application, right from the outset, was unfounded.
The ensuing litigation became unduly protracted and the municipality’s persistence with the appeal was ill-considered and irresponsible”

Our cases have similar merit and we believe that the Courts will be in favour of our Applications. The Municipalities are obliged to follow the various By-laws, Acts and Legislation and not take the law into their own hands.

Our combined cases were heard during February 2016 and we are waiting with bated breath for our Judgments to be handed down. Our matters went into much more depth and a number of Constitutional issues were raised as well.

Click below to read the Judgment:

2016-06-01-case-no-a5059-2015-ekurhuleni-vs-anzotrax-pty-ltd-ta-topbet-germiston