Johannesburg - Failure by the City of Joburg to rectify an erroneous account has left mayor Parks Tau with a R50 000 bill.
Along with his entire mayoral committee, Tau was left with egg on his face when the South Gauteng High Court fined him for contempt of court last week.
The court also ordered that a copy of the judgment be served personally on Tau and the council’s head of legal services, also slapping them with an order to pay the contempt of court application costs.
The application was brought by the Hellenic Community of Joburg against the council for ignoring an earlier court order.
The case stems from a billing error in which the Hellenic Community, owners of a building in Banket Street, were incorrectly charged. They were unable to get resolution from the council, so they approached attorney Dino Tzerkezis, who took the matter to court after he too failed to get a resolution.
In October last year, Tzerkezis won the case, with the court ordering the council to reverse the incorrect charges and to install a new meter. The order also interdicted the council from billing the owners incorrectly.
After the order was granted, the council applied for a rescission order, but later withdrew it.
In it, the attorneys accused the Hellenic Community of being desperate to “take undue advantage”.
Judge CH Nicholls lambasted the council’s attorney not only for attempting to get the order reversed, calling this “ill-conceived”, but also for “unbecoming behaviour and accusing the Hellenic Community of abusing the process of the court”.
She said the attorney had perjured himself by stating under oath that no electricity had been charged to the building since 2010. She also said the conduct of the attorneys and officials litigating in its name should be brought to the council’s attention. The council has been given 20 days to pay R50 000 and costs.
The Star was unable to get comment from the City of Joburg at the time of publication.