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Pretoria High Court admits CER as amicus into local government clean energy case

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.


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Section 24of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

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