Public Works to expropriate servitudes to improve Limpopo power supply

Friday, February 3, 2023

The Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) has started a process of assessing if servitudes can be expropriated by Eskom in order to allow the power utility to supply more power to areas in Limpopo than what is currently possible.

This was confirmed on Friday by DPWI Minister, Patricia de Lille.

In a statement, the Minister said all affected owners were served with the application and given the opportunity to comment on it.

“The application was received from the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, on behalf of Eskom, and was necessitated by the fact that the current transmission lines in Limpopo are inadequate and unable to meet the electricity demands of the people in the region,” said Ministry spokesperson, Zara Nicholson.

Eskom, she said, needs to strengthen its electricity network by upgrading an existing substation to increase the capacity of the power transmission system.

“This will allow Eskom to supply more electricity to the region in Limpopo than what it is currently able to. The current single feed transmission line into the region creates a risk for the region,” she said.

The Ministry said the expropriation of the powerline servitudes, on behalf of Eskom, was done in terms of section 3 of the Expropriation Act 63 of 1975, read with section 26 of the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006, as read with the Electricity Regulations for Expropriation, on behalf of a licensee.

“The design and route of the required power lines crosses over State-owned and privately-owned land,” said Nicholson.

Some privately owned land is affected by the design of the new power lines, and Eskom has stated that the servitudes and new power lines do not impose detrimental effects in respect of these properties, which cannot be addressed by reasonable compensation to private owners, which Eskom is willing to pay.

Eskom also received an Environmental Authorisation from the Department of Environmental Affairs to construct new power lines. The route of the power lines was specifically authorised by the Environmental Authorisation having due regard to the impact of the power lines on the environment and the interest of property owners in the region.

Following Eskom’s application to the Minister, some affected property owners entered into servitude agreements with Eskom and accepted an offer of compensation.

Said Nicholson: “The property owners who did not enter into servitude agreements were notified about the State’s intention to expropriate, in terms of the Expropriation Act 63 of 1975. They have been served with the necessary expropriation notices.

“The property owners were informed in the expropriation notices that the date of expropriation is 31 January 2023 and that expropriated rights will be exercised by Eskom from 1 February 2023.”

The ministry said owners, who have been expropriated, have also been informed in the notices of expropriation that in terms of the Expropriation Act, they must, within 60 days from the date of receipt of the Expropriation Notice, deliver a written statement to the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure with the required information such as:

• The amount claimed by the owner as compensation and how much of that amount represents the amount contemplated in section 12(1)(b) of the Expropriation Act; and

• Details of all improvements on the property which are affected by the expropriation of the servitudes.

"It is important to note that the expropriation has been done strictly in terms of the applicable legislation," the department said.

The ministry said the energy crisis requires the whole country to work together for the greater good, such as ensuring the provision of the necessary infrastructure to enhance electricity supply.

The DPWI, together with Eskom, said it is committed to finalising the matter and all administrative processes timeously and with due consideration to all circumstances to assist Eskom to improve electricity supply to the region in Limpopo.

“The increased capacity to provide electricity will support economic growth and development projects in the region," the ministry said. –

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