A fresh legal battle has erupted over the control of Mtubatuba Local Municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal after the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled that Dr Siya Ntuli should be allowed to take over as the administrator of the embattled municipality.
The court made the ruling late on Tuesday and it was emailed to all parties cited in the case.
The case was brought by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in the province, Bongi Sithole-Moloi and she was supported by Ntuli.
NEWS: Pietermaritzburg High Court has ruled in favour of KZN CoGTA & Dr Siya Ntuli in the matter against the IFP-run Mtubatuba municipality. The court has interdicted the municipality from barring Ntuli to start his work as an administrator & grant him to acesss his office. @IOL pic.twitter.com/D4fIqKpFKT— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) August 16, 2023
That was after, in February, the municipality blocked Ntuli’s return to the municipality, claiming that his previous stint was behind the financial challenges that saw it sink deeper into the quagmire and kept under administration.
Sithole-Moloi and Ntuli dashed to court to compel the municipality to allow him to do his work unhindered, and they won.
"The respondents are hereby interdicted and restrained from preventing the second applicant (Ntuli) from taking up his position as ministerial representative at the Mtubatuba Local Municipality," the court ordered.
The court also ordered that Ntuli be granted access to municipal premises.
"The respondents are hereby directed to facilitate the second applicant’s appointment as ministerial representative at the Municipality by providing him with access to the offices used by the ministerial representative and all necessary facilities and by cooperating with the second applicant to enable him to fulfil his statutory duties at the Municipality," it ruled.
Following the ruling, Ntuli went to the municipality to start his work on Wednesday morning.
However, his return sparked another legal battle as the Mayor of the municipality, Mxolisi Mthethwa, lodged an impromptu appeal to set aside the initial ruling that brought Ntuli back.
Mthethwa said he was of the view that the Supreme Court of Appeal could reach a different conclusion.
Meanwhile, the ANC suffered another setback in its frantic bid to wrestle the IFP out of the uThukela District Municipality.
This comes after the attorneys of record for councillor Sihle Ngwenya abruptly withdrew their services.
Ngwenya’s single vote was crucial for the ANC, but the DA that had deployed him in the district recalled him when he supported the motion against the IFP, a coalition partner.
Ngwenya, an independent councillor who was occupying one of the seats of the DA in the district, then challenged his recall in court.
The decision was communicated by the law firm, Purdon and Munsamy Attorneys, in a letter dated August 8, 2023, to all parties cited in the case.
It's not yet clear whether Ngwenya has roped in new lawyers to carry on with the legal challenge against the DA.