The DA’s John Moody, Randall Williams and John Steenhuisen during a press conference on the political situation in the City of Tshwane. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
The DA’s John Moody, Randall Williams and John Steenhuisen during a press conference on the political situation in the City of Tshwane. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Battle for Tshwane looms

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Mar 6, 2020

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Pretoria - A legal showdown between the DA and the ANC is looming following a decision by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to dissolve the City of Tshwane and appoint an administrator to run the affairs of the municipality for the next month.

According to Makhura's spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga, the premier will announce the name of the administrator and “other professionals to assist” next week.

Despite the controversy caused by the disbanding of the council, Mhaga was adamant that Makhura had followed legal processes to the letter.

While Makhura remained steadfast in his decision - DA Gauteng leader John Moodey on Thursday night said his party was in consultation with its legal team with the view to challenge the controversial decision in the North Gauteng High Court.

On Thursday, legal expert Professor Mbuzeni Mathenjwa, who specialises in constitutional law and local government law at Unisa, said the Constitution provides that when the MEC dissolves a municipality after a Cabinet decision, he or she must first inform the legislature, the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

Mathenjwa highlighted that the next phase of the provision often takes effect after 14 days “unless it has been approved by the minister and the National Council of Provinces.

He was adamant that the appointment of an administrator can only happen after 14 days, saying “Makhura’s decision can be set aside by the Cogta Minister (Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma) and the NCOP”.

“There is a clear case law which found that the Western Cape government’s decision to dissolve certain municipalities in the province was premature. My view is that the Gauteng government was very harsh in its decision,” Mathenjwa said.

Moodey alleges that Makhura breached Section 139 of the Constitution and the DA was in consultation with its lawyers to challenge the decision. He said intervention was only allowed if exceptional circumstances warrant such a step, saying “having political parties that do not find each other in council meetings” did not amount to exceptional circumstances.

Political analyst Professor Lesiba Teffo also expressed doubts about the real motive of Makhura’s decisions, saying “if the decision is found wanting legally, it would be unfortunate”.

He said the real battle to remove the DA government in Tshwane began in December last year when Gauteng Co-operative Governance MEC Lebogang Maile endorsed the “undemocratic removal of Council Speaker Katlego Mathebe”.

Political analyst Theo Venter of North-West University concurred that Makhura did not follow the correct procedures, saying: “He has given the DA an opportunity to prepare for a court case against his decision. If he had undertaken all legal processes, it would have made it difficult for the DA to challenge it in court.”

The ANC in Tshwane in the meantime has welcomed the provincial government’s decision about the City of Tshwane. ANC regional chairperson Kgosi Maepa said this will allow the party to prepare for the upcoming by-elections in the region.

“We don’t want a coalition government. We want a decisive victory because the ANC is the only organisation in this country with a plan.”

Political Bureau

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