File picture: GCIS.
File picture: GCIS.

DA cries foul as Gauteng appeals Tshwane Council dissolution

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published May 7, 2020

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Pretoria - The Gauteng provincial government on Thursday said it would appeal the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court, which set aside the provincial authority’s decision to place the Tshwane metro under administration.

“Exco [Gauteng executive council] has considered the judgment and its implications on Tshwane, in relation to the restoration of clean governance, quality service delivery and sound management of public funds.

"After consulting with our legal counsel, we have decided to appeal the decision as we are of the view that the court erred in several respects,” said Gauteng MEC for local government Lebogang Maile.  

“We are still of the firm view that the reasons for Exco’s decision to dissolve the Tshwane Municipal Council are very solid, with much merit still, as contained in the dissolution notice. 

"Both the minister of Cogta [cooperative governance and traditional affairs] and the National Council of Provinces were persuaded by the same reasons hence their concurrence.”  

Maile said the Gauteng Exco holds that another court, specifically the Constitutional Court “as the final arbiter” will overturn the decision of the high court, based on the strong merits of our decision. 

Maile said while the appeal process unfolds, the administrator and the team of experts running Tshwane will continue with running the affairs of South Africa’s capital city. 

“We are confident that another court will take a different view to the one taken by the high court, with the aim of strengthening governance and accountability within our democratic establishment,” Maile said. 

“Provincial government wants to assure the long-suffering residents of Tshwane that whilst this matter is litigated, service delivery will continue uninterrupted.” 

Last month, the Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomed the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court, which set aside the provincial government's decision to place Tshwane under administration, and the court ordered all council members from the opposition African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters to attend council meetings.

Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, who was scathing of the decision by the provincial government, ruled that the order to council members was, however, suspended pending the lifting of level five Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, which have since been eased to level four.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the ruling was a "victory for democracy".

On Thursday, reacting to Maile’s announcement on the appeal, the DA’s Tshwane mayoral candidate Randall Williams said the decision was a complete waste of taxpayers' money, and was intended to delay the process of bringing stability and progress to Tshwane. 

“The recent unanimous judgment by the court was clear, that the current team of administrators that were deployed by the ANC should vacate their respective offices within five days after the level five lockdown was lifted to allow all councillors to resume office by midnight on Friday, 8 May 2020 when the judgment comes into effect,” Williams said. 

“The ongoing attempts to destabilise Tshwane are politically driven by the ANC and hampering service delivery, as the residents are unfortunately at the receiving end of the ANC’s delaying tactics. 

"The application for leave to appeal announced by the ANC is baseless and has no substance. It is filled with emotions and political tactics to prolong their own political appointments time in office in Tshwane to loot the city coffers.”

African News Agency (ANA)

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