DA to file court papers asking for court ruling on Tshwane to be effective immediately
PRETORIA - The DA will file papers in the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria on Monday, asking the court to use rule 18 (3) to order that the judgment to overturn the dissolution of the City of Tshwane Council be effective immediately.
The DA has noted the legal actions being taken by the ANC and the EFF seeking to reverse the Gauteng North High Court judgment that overturned the illegal dissolution of the Tshwane council by the provincial government. The DA has instructed its lawyers to oppose the appeal, DA MPL and Gauteng chairperson Mike Moriarty said in a statement.
On Friday, the DA said it had received notice that the Gauteng provincial government had filed papers at the Constitutional Court for leave to appeal the North Gauteng High Court’s judgment. The EFF subseuently also filed court papers regarding the appeal.
On April 29, Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo set aside cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Lebogang Maile's decision on March 4 to place the Tshwane metro under administration.
The judgment was clear in stating that the problems facing the city were not of the DA’s making, but rather the result of the ANC and EFF councillors repeatedly disrupting and collapsing council meetings and sabotaging the work of the Tshwane council.
The court ordered all council members from the ANC and EFF to attend council meetings. Mlambo, who was scathing of the decision by the provincial government, ruled that the order to council members was suspended pending the lifting of level five Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
The DA held that the ANC leadership of Gauteng effectively executed a coup in Tshwane when Maile placed the metro under administration.
Moriarty said the problem "is that the mere launching of an application to appeal had the effect of holding the Tshwane judgment in abeyance".
The administrators could therefore carry on working and the lawfully elected councillors remained out of office. Thus a council meeting to elect a new mayor could not be held.
Moreover, the High Court had reaffirmed multiple previous judgments that had overturned similar actions by other provinces that tried to dissolve other municipalities.
"These cases set a high precedent for circumstances that warrant intervention. In so doing, the courts protected the constitutional status of a municipality as an independent sphere of government, equal to provincial and national spheres. So it is highly questionable whether either the ANC or the EFF actually have a case.
"This begs the question of why they are willing to waste money in all of this when they have virtually no prospect of success. The ANC and EFF have claimed that the court has breached its right to disrupt meetings. Is this why they want to go to court, to be disruptive?"
They went further, claiming that because the council could not keep a quorum, then this was an exceptional circumstance that justified dissolution. Thus the ANC had exposed its strategy to render the council ungovernable in order to take control. In so doing, they showed themselves as being unable to accept the democratic will of the voters. The ANC could not accept losing power and was intent on grabbing back power by foul means if it could not win by fair means.
The DA would continue to fight for principle and defend the will and well-being of the residents of Tshwane.
"Accordingly, we will file papers to oppose the direct access to the Constitutional Court by both the ANC and the EFF; we will oppose the EFF’s motion for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal; but most significantly, tomorrow [Monday] we will file papers in the Gauteng North High Court. In this regard, we will ask the court to use rule 18 (3) to order that the judgment to overturn the dissolution of the Tshwane council be effective immediately."
For the DA, the principles were clear. Any municipality should operate without fear of undue intervention from a provincial government. This was important because the ANC was likely to lose control of dozens of municipalities to minority governments in next year's local government elections.
"But they will be in provinces where the ANC is still dominant. If we don’t stop them in Tshwane then the precedent will be set. All these councils will be vulnerable and exposed to interference and a corruption of the system. The will of the people will be subverted.
"The other principle is this: should any party be able to take control through disruption, or even violence. Definitely not. The courts must not reward the ANC’s strategy of ungovernability in the places where it has lost control. Neither must the courts reward the EFF’s politics of chaos," Moriarty said.