Eskom's load shedding delays Bhisho court's rape, murder trials

Load-shedding forced the Bhisho High Court to postpone important cases.
Load-shedding forced the Bhisho High Court to postpone important cases.
Image: 123RF / beercrafter

Eskom's load-shedding has forced the Bhisho High Court to close and delay prominent trials until next day.

One case on the roll which was affected by the power cuts was the trial of the Mdantsane man accused of raping 40 women and killing three between September 2014 and May 2017.

The Bhisho High Court plunged into total darkness on Monday at 12 pm when 46-year-old Malibongwe Ncokolo was due to appeared for the alleged crimes.

State prosecutor Advocate Diolin Willemse was about to call three more witnesses in addition to the three who gave evidence on Monday when the power went off.

Judge Igna Stretch postponed the matter to Tuesday.

The court's audio recording equipment cannot operate without a power supply.

On Monday, Eskom announced the rolling out of stage 1 load shedding until Thursday due to a constrained, unpredictable and vulnerable system. The power utility's spokesperson Sikhonathi Mantshantsha said the pressure was caused by a number of units being on unplanned breakdowns.

He said implementing load-shedding would put Eskom in a better position to meet the rising power demand during the week.

“It will also help Eskom to rebuild the emergency reserves that were depleted as we strove to keep the lights on during the high equipment breakdowns we experienced towards the end of last week.”

The state has listed 160 witnesses and has called 23 witnesses so far since the beginning of the trial in February.

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