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Title: Unveiling the Curtain: Eskom’s Conduct Under Scrutiny – Supremacy of Constitution vs. Statutory Law

Caroline Du Plessis




In a society governed by the rule of law, the balance between upholding the principles enshrined in the constitution and adhering to statutory laws is of paramount importance. South Africa, a nation known for its progressive Constitution, finds itself grappling with a contentious issue involving Eskom, its state-owned electricity provider. Recent events have cast a spotlight on Eskom’s conduct, raising questions about the extent to which the company respects the supremacy of the Constitution versus its adherence to extant statutory laws.

The Disputed Disconnect: A Case Study

The controversy revolves around the disconnection of electricity supply to a property, igniting a legal battle between Eskom and the property owner. The crux of the matter lies in conflicting claims regarding the outstanding debt and arrears that purportedly led to the disconnection. Eskom’s decision to disconnect the electricity supply based on varying amounts in arrears highlights the ambiguity surrounding its actions.

The Supremacy of the Constitution

South Africa’s Constitution, often hailed as one of the most progressive in the world, places the rule of law at the heart of its governance. The Constitution asserts that all laws and actions must be in accordance with its provisions, thereby prioritizing the rights and freedoms of citizens. Eskom, as a state-owned entity, operates within the framework of this Constitution and is bound by its principles, including the rule of law and due process.

Statutory Laws and Their Implications

In contrast, statutory laws are specific enactments created by legislative bodies to address particular issues. While statutory laws play a vital role in regulating various aspects of society, they must align with the overarching principles of the Constitution. Eskom’s reliance on statutory laws as a basis for disconnection raises concerns about whether the company is striking a fair balance between its legal obligations and the principles enshrined in the Constitution.

Inferences about Eskom’s Attitude

Eskom’s conduct in this matter raises pertinent questions about its attitude towards the supremacy of the Constitution versus the extant statutory laws. The conflicting amounts of arrears communicated by Eskom, coupled with allegations of failure to mediate and resolve the dispute, suggest a lack of transparency and accountability. Such behavior can be interpreted as a disregard for the principles of fairness, due process, and adherence to constitutional obligations.

The Broader Implications

Beyond the immediate dispute, Eskom’s actions have broader implications for both the rule of law and public trust. Disregarding constitutional principles in favor of strict adherence to statutory laws could undermine the fundamental values that underpin South Africa’s democracy. The public’s perception of Eskom’s conduct has the potential to erode trust not only in the company but also in the institutions responsible for upholding the rule of law.


The ongoing dispute between Eskom and the property owner shines a spotlight on the delicate balance between the supremacy of the Constitution and adherence to statutory laws. As South Africa navigates through this legal quagmire, it is essential to underscore the significance of upholding the principles enshrined in the Constitution while ensuring compliance with statutory laws. Eskom’s conduct has sparked an important conversation about the responsibilities of public entities to honor the spirit of the Constitution in their actions, thereby reinforcing the principles of justice, fairness, and the rule of law.

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