IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO In the Application of :
JOSEPH MATIEA Applicant
LESOTHO ELECTRICITY CORPORATION Respondent
Delivered by the Hon. Chief Justice, Mr. Justice T.S. Cotran on the 28th day of February
The applicant (Joseph Matiea) moved the Court, on notice to the respondent Corporation(Lesothe Electricity Corporation) seeking an order compelling it to "restore electric current and service connection" to the applicant's house in Borokhoaneng, in the district of Maseru.
The affidavits have established the following facts:-
1. The applicant's house was some distance away from the
electric mains. It was therefore necessary for the respondent
to undertake certain works from the nearest power point to
a further point closer to the house to effect a connection to it. This costs money,
The applicant paid the necessary fee and the respondent
had apparently completed the Job.
The fee paid by the applicant was in fact a contribution
towards the capital cost involved in extending the power
line to his house. It has nothing to do with the question
of supply of power for consumption in his home.
Regulation 23(b) of the Electricity Regulations 1970
(Vol. XV Laws of Lesotho p 538 at 542) enacted by virtue of powers conferred upon the Minister (of Works and Communication! by s.46(l) of the Electricity Act 1969 (Vol. XIV Laws of Lesotho p.3 at p.33) provides:
"(b) Construction of any service connection will not commence until payment has been received in respect of any deposit or charge required, and a supply of electricity will not be given until the new installation or any alteration or additions to an existing installation have been passed and the contract referred to under regulation 9 has been completed". (my underlining)
Regulation 9 provides :
" No person shall use a supply of electricity from the mains unless or until he shall have entered into a written agreement with the Corporation for such supply. The agreement shall be in terms of Form I as annexed to these regulations".
Regulation 10 gives details of the deposit payable on signature of the contract to supply power and disposal thereof in certain contingencies.
4. The applicant signed no contract for the supply of
electricity to his house and paid no deposit.
5. The applicant, however, managed, by fair means or foul,
most probably foul, to connect the current to his house
through the box which was in fact installed but which contained
no meter. He locked the box and consumed electricity for the best
part of six months without paying a cent. He was surely
aware that it was simply a question of time before the game
6. When this was discovered, as it was bound to sooner or
later, steps were taken to stop what appears to have been
brazen theft of electricity. The applicant then instituted
the present proceedings on the ground that he has paid
the fee (for connection) and was not presented with a bill for consumption. As I pointed out these are two different matters.
If the applicant is ignorant, and I do not think he is, surely his attorney must have advised him to keep his mouth shut. The applicant is lucky that he has not been prosecuted for theft.
The application is utterly misconceived and is hereby dismissed.
The respondent resists the application on another ground in that the applicant owes it some R547 in respect of electric supply to other premises which still remain unpaid. They invoke s.3l(l)(a)(ii) of the Act. Although it is not necessary for my decision I think the respondent is entitled to succeed on that ground as well. (Lesotho Electricity Corporation v. Forrest Construction Company(Pty)Ltd C. of A. (CIV) No.2 of 1979 - unreported).
This is a typical case where the process of the Court has been abused and to show its displeasure the applicant will pay the respondent's costs on attorney and client basis.
28th February, 1960
For Applicant : Mr. Kolisang
For Respondent: Mr. Harley
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