051110. Polokwane in Limpopo Province. Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale arrives for The Limpopo Provincial Government Budget Lekgotla that took place on 04 and 05 November 2010. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

Johannesburg - Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale plans to take President Jacob Zuma’s government to the Constitutional Court to test the legality and the validity of his decision to place the province under national administration.

Mathale has spent R98 000 of taxpayers’ money seeking a legal opinion on the matter.

The Star can on Wednesday reveal that the beleaguered premier has contracted Professor Shadrack Gutto, director of the Centre for African Renaissance Studies at Unisa, “with a view to instituting a judicial review”.

Lerato Zikalala and Sha’ista Kazee, associates at Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys, indicated that Limpopo’s only recourse was the highest court in the land.

“In terms of section 167(4)(a) of the constitution, only the Constitutional Court has the jurisdiction to determine a dispute between organs of state” concerning the constitutional status and power or functions of those organs of state, they said.

Mathale commissioned the investigation late last year, shortly before the ANC re-elected Zuma as party leader at the ANC’s Mangaung conference in December. Mathale opposed Zuma’s re-election bid.

Gutto neither denied nor confirmed his appointment when contacted for comment, but referred queries to Mathale’s office.

The Star has seen leaked e-mail correspondence between Mathale’s office and Gutto.

“An opinion is, therefore, sought on the legality of the intervention, both substantively and procedurally, with a view of instituting a judicial review,” read the message by the head of legal services in the Premier’s Office, advocate Chris Rammutla.

He said no legislative instruments had been drafted in terms of section 100 (b) of the constitution to guide the national intervention.

“It is therefore difficult to implement the provision of the section without any guidelines, and probably the minister of finance… is aware of the problem, hence they promised to draft a memorandum of understanding (in 2011)… but that was never done until to date,” Rammutla said in the correspondence.

He also refused to comment.

Limpopo blames the national intervention for the non-delivery of textbooks last year, the non-payment of service providers and lack of medicines in clinics and hospitals.

Norman Mavhunga, branch chairman of the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union, said Mathale and the province’s director-general, Rachel Molepo-Modipa, must resign.

“It is shocking that this provincial government has associated itself with a liberal (Gutto) who has been launching an onslaught on the ANC national government,” he said.

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The Star