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Judge rules Truman Prince’s appeal against nullification of municipal appointment moot

Former Beaufort West mayor Truman Prince. File Photo: Ayanda Ndamane

Former Beaufort West mayor Truman Prince. File Photo: Ayanda Ndamane

Published Apr 28, 2023


Cape Town - Former Beaufort West mayor Truman Prince has lost his Western Cape High Court application for leave to appeal against Local Government MEC Anton Bredell’s nullification of his appointment as acting municipal manager of the Central Karoo District municipality.

Handing down judgment, Judge Patrick Gamble ruled that the matter was moot since Prince’s appointment expires on April 30.

Last month the court declared Prince’s appointment to the Central Karoo District Municipality null and void. Prince had been appointed as the municipality’s acting manager in February, after the resignation of Zwelithini Nyathi.

Judge Gamble said: “Any prospective appeal, whether it be to the Supreme Court of Appeal or to a full Bench in this division, will not be heard by that date. In the circumstances, if leave be granted, when any such appeal is ultimately heard it will be moot.”

The judge said it was common cause between the parties in the case and as such disposed of any argument that a prospective appeal has reasonable prospects of success.

He said leave to appeal could only be granted if the appeal had a reasonable prospect of success, or there was some other compelling reason why the appeal should be heard. Such reasons would include conflicting judgments on the matter under consideration.

Prince’s advocate, Jerome van der

Schyff, had argued in court that there was a compelling reason why such an appeal ought to be heard, notwithstanding that the matter was moot.

Van der Schyff argued there were two reasons that the question of the legal consequences, if any, of whether the position with the municipality had been held de facto, was important and should be considered by another court.

The first of these reasons was that the issue was of general importance.

He argued there was a necessity for finality to be obtained regarding the position of de facto experience, given the likelihood of similar situations arising elsewhere in the country in respect of other potential candidates.

Second, he said Prince might wish to apply for a different senior management position with the municipality in the future and would want to be assured of the validity of his de facto experience when doing so.

Responding to these arguments in his judgment Judge Gamble said: “I do not accept that it is open to courts of first instance to make orders on causes of action that have been extinguished, merely because they think that their decision will have broader societal implications.”

As regards the latter argument, the judge said: “There is nothing in the court’s judgment which precludes him from applying for another position with the municipality.”

Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell. Picture: MEC Ivan Meyer/Facbook

The matter originally landed in court after MEC Bredell indicated that Central Karoo mayor, Gayton McKenzie, “ignored” his recommendation to terminate Prince’s appointment.

Bredell said Prince did not have the relevant experience at senior management level suitable to hold the position.

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