news

Dec. 30, 2021

OWN CORRESPONDENT

3 min read

Lesotho lands first blow against Frazer Solar

Lesotho lands first blow against Frazer Solar

Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Tsoinyane Rapapa

Story highlights

  • Govt is glad all its expenses would be paid for, while its accounts would not be frozen
  • SA judge was not convinced the application was urgent

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THE Government of Lesotho has won the first case against Fraser Solar GMBH (FSG) in an urgent application which was before the Johannesburg High Court on Wednesday.

The court ruled that the application was not urgent, hence ordered Fraser Solar to pay legal costs of Lesotho, the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) and the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA).

In his judgment, Justice S. Yacoob said he was not convinced that FSG would suffer irreparable harm if its relief was not determined urgently.

He noted that this was because the treaty between Lesotho and South Africa did not have an end date and the money that the TCTA paid to Lesotho was not finite.
He said it would continue to be paid every month for the foreseeable future, since South Africa had no other comparable source from which to provide for its water needs.

He further pointed out that FSG’s recovery was therefore simply delayed.
The Judge said finally, to the extent that it was relevant, he was not convinced that there would be any basis for a contempt order.

He added that neither of the orders referred to, made any mention of freezing bank accounts or funds, or of any undertaking by any party to the effect that money would not continue to be paid to Lesotho.
In an interview after the trial, the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Tsoinyane Rapapa expressed great pleasure at the development, saying the Government welcomed the ruling.

He said the Government is also glad that all its expenses would be paid for, while its accounts would not be frozen.

He further thanked the lawyers who represented the country in the application, saying they did a great job.

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Fraser Solar had earlier approached the Johannesburg High Court and was granted the leave to seize assets belonging to the Government of Lesotho, a decision the latter challenged in court.

Earlier this year, the German solar company began seizing Lesotho’s assets after the country reneged on its contract to build a power station.

Frazer Solar seized Lesotho’s assets abroad in order to enforce €50million in contractual damages.

It among others took control of royalties that Lesotho earns on water and power supplies to South Africa, after a US court gave it the go-ahead to employ tactics similar to those used by creditors to chase countries that have defaulted on their debts.

Lesotho reneged on an “outstanding opportunity” to acquire renewable energy assets, including a 20-megawatt solar plant, when it abandoned a deal to finance the project in 2018, Frazer Solar said. LeNA/Financial Times

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