27 JUNE 2016
Case number: 14497/2016
CHANTELLE LOUISE GLADWIN vs EKURHULENI METROPOLITAN MUNICIPALITY:
Are New Homeowners or Tenants not liable for Old Electricity Bill?
Ekurhuleni Municipality has once again suffered another blow. There have been a few Judgments against Ekurhuleni recently, with very similar facts. The Courts are making it quite clear that the Municipality may simply not disconnect the services to the new owner and/or tenant unilaterally. People have rights. It is outrageous that Ekurhuleni is still acting unlawfully despite the fact that there are a number of Court Orders against the Municipalities (a number of which we were involved in) which confirmed that their actions were unlawful and that they had to restore the electricity:
-New Ventures vs Ekurhuleni Case no 13040/2014 (HIGH COURT)
-New Ventures vs Ekurhuleni Case no 23826/2014 (HIGH COURT)
-New Ventures vs City of Tshwane Case no 13039/2014 (HIGH COURT)
-Stand 278 Strydom Park vs Ekurhuleni Case No 46783/2013 (HIGH COURT)
-Mpho Gift Motsoatsoa vs City of Tshwane Case No 39315/2013 (HIGH COURT)
-Vane Theunissen vs City of Tshwane Case No 29969/2008 (HIGH COURT)
-Lius Da Silva vs Ekurhuleni Case no 2015/33695 (HIGH COURT)
-Christiaan Dirk Van Reenen vs Sheriff Kempton Park South Case No 4308/2013 (MAGISTRATE COURT)
-Harrison vs Ekurhuleni Case No 158/2016 (MAGISTRATE COURT)
In the matter between Gladwin and Ekurhuleni, Case No 14497/2016, they obtained a further Order which confirmed that it was unlawful for Ekurhuleni Municipality to have refused to restore the supply of electricity to the occupant of the property on the basis that the previous owner had certain debts.
The Court further ordered that Ekurhuleni Municipality may not disconnect, prohibit or prevent the supply of electricity to the property due to alleged amounts owed by the previous owner. The Municipality was also ordered to pay costs.
There are however a number of articles floating around the Internet and Media which are unfortunately misinterpreting the Gladwin Case and other matters. These articles are misinforming the general public that new owners are not at risk for historical debt that may exist on a property from previous owners. With respect, this is simply not the case.
The above Case is very clear and is in line with a number of other Court Judgments that have recently come out. We are of the opinion that owners, sellers, purchasers and the property industry should not think that they can relax now and that the problem has gone away. All debts should be paid/settled before transfer.
We are the Municipal Debt Specialists. If you are selling or buying a property and there is Municipal Debt, we can help you scrutinize your accounts and protect all parties’ rights.
We will keep the public and property industry updated on a regular basis.