Bredell 'notes' Kannaland judgment but stands by his actions
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Cape Town - Despite a ruling by acting Western Cape High Court Judge James Lekhuleni slating the province for its 5-year “unlawful and unconstitutional” intervention in Kannaland, local government MEC Anton Bredell is unmoved.
The provincial executive council, the Finance MEC, Bredell and the financial administrator appointed by the Western Cape government for Kannaland had applied to have the municipal bank accounts frozen.
This was part of an ongoing intervention in the municipality’s affairs since 2016.
Judge Lekhuleni said in his ruling that he found the long intervention very concerning and tantamount to permanent intervention, which infringes the functional and operational integrity of the three arms of government.
“It started in 2016 and continues to date. The court was informed that the purported plan is proposed to last until the local government elections. The contract of the administrator was also extended until the election.
“In my view an intervention of this nature, that is aimed at lasting five years from one election to the other, is not a temporary measure envisioned by the constitution,” said Lekhuleni.
Bredell said that while he “noted the judgment”, he remained concerned at the ongoing situation in Kannaland, a municipality with severe financial challenges, and stood by his actions.
Bredell said: “Without the provincial government’s actions and the financial and technical support provided since 2016, service delivery would have failed.
“We are reviewing the judgment and considering our options moving forward,” said Bredell.
The 7-seat council has been controlled by a succession of coalitions since the last local government election. The DA and ANC have two seats each and the balance of power with three seats, rests with the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa).
The leader of the opposition in the legislature, Cameron Dugmore (ANC), saw the judgment as “a victory for the Klein Karoo town municipality of Kannaland and its people against DA political oppression, financial exploitation, unlawfulness and hypocrisy.”
Icosa leader and Kannaland councillor Jeffrey Donson said: “The ruling brought to an end a sad chapter of irregular intervention for political gain.”
Kannaland Municipality speaker Werner Meshoa (Icosa) said: “The DA’s insatiable appetite for power at all and at any cost is appalling. They were in bed with the ANC in Kannaland against Icosa and in bed with Icosa in Oudtshoorn against the ANC.”