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Poultry producer takes on govt, wins court order over poor service delivery

15 April 2021 7:50 PM
Tags:
Water supply
Mpumalanga
The Money Show
Service delivery
Bruce Whitfield
Basic services
Electricity supply
Standerton
Astral Foods
poultry
court order
Chris Schutte
Astral
Lekwa municipality

The situation in Lekwa Municipality is untenable, says Astral Foods CEO Chris Schutte. Govt has been ordered to intervene.

Poultry producer Astral Foods has won a High Court order against government and National Treasury over service delivery issues in the Lekwa (Standerton) Municipality in Mpumalanga.

The consumer brands owned by the group include County Fair and Goldi.

In a statement, Astral says it decided to take the "extraordinary" step of launching legal proceedings because the municipality's poor service delivery is untenable.

The impasse with the municipality with regards to water and electricity supply has had a major disruptive impact on Astral’s operations within Standerton. Unfortunately the goings on have also negatively impacted on people living in the town and surrounding areas.

Astral Foods statement
Image: Capri23auto on Pixabay

Bruce Whitfield interviews Astral CEO Chris Schutte on The Money Show.

Schutte explains that the dispute with the municipality dates back to 2018

Already in 2018 we approached the courts with this application that somebody should take up responsibility. If it's not the local municipality, is it the provincial government or is it central government?

Chris Schutte, CEO - Astral Foods

The application was unopposed [12 April] in the High Court of Pretoria and what it says is that central government is now obliged by a court order of the High Court of South Africa to get involved in Lekwa's municipality.

Chris Schutte, CEO - Astral Foods

Within 14 days they have to take certain actions and come up with a plan to remedy the complete collapse of that municipality.

Chris Schutte, CEO - Astral Foods

Schutte says the court order is very clear that central government has to deliver specific plans for specific dates.

In terms of the order, Astral can approach the court again if these plans are not implemented.

I would like to think that it is a watershed case.

Chris Schutte, CEO - Astral Foods

The application was unopposed and they agreed to this court order, which brings about more significance - they can't appeal it later.

Chris Schutte, CEO - Astral Foods

Also... if we're not happy with the remedies... we can approach court again for specific judgment on specific issues.

Chris Schutte, CEO - Astral Foods

Would Astral ever take steps to ensure it's not reliant on municipal services? asks Whitfield.

Schutte says the company is already self-sufficient to some extent.

We're now paying Eskom directly. We're also looking at other means of energy and we're self-sufficient when it comes to water, but it's the bigger case... It's not just electricity, it's not just water, it's not just roads. It's a collapse of the whole area!

Chris Schutte, CEO - Astral Foods

We've won the battle for the day, but the war is still a long time going.

Chris Schutte, CEO - Astral Foods

Listen to the interview on The Money Show:




15 April 2021 7:50 PM
Tags:
Water supply
Mpumalanga
The Money Show
Service delivery
Bruce Whitfield
Basic services
Electricity supply
Standerton
Astral Foods
poultry
court order
Chris Schutte
Astral
Lekwa municipality

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