Top court orders probe into City of Tshwane crisis
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The Constitutional Court has ordered Gauteng MEC human settlements, urban planning, cooperative governance and traditional Lebogang Maile, to launch an investigation into the crisis in the City of Tshwane.
The apex court on Monday set aside the April 2020 ruling of the full bench of the North Gauteng High Court – Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo, judges Sulet Potterill and Natvarlal Ranchod – declaring the provincial government’s decision to dissolve the council invalid, and setting it aside.
The ruling was in favour of the DA, which ran the municipality until the council was dissolved in March, and had argued that the dissolution of the council by the Province was unlawful as it failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the Constitution.
The provincial government, the ANC and EFF then approached the Concourt, which ruled as follows: “The MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Gauteng is ordered to invoke his powers in terms of item 14(4) of Schedule 1 of the Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000, to appoint a person or a committee to investigate the cause of the deadlock of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipal Council and to make a recommendation as to an appropriate sanction,” reads the majority judgment.
The apex court altered the mandamus granted by the high court, which is a court order to a government official ordering the official to properly fulfil their official duties.
In appealing the high court ruling, Gauteng premier David Makhura, his executive council and Maile, had argued that the order was far-reaching as it compelled councillors to attend council meetings but did not and could not compel the councillors to vote.
Maile said the reasons for dissolving the council were: the instability resulting from the municipality being without a mayor, mayoral committee or city manager at the time, a leadership crisis that left its council barely able to function, widespread corruption, the water crisis in Hammanskraal, the grave concern of returning grants allocated for service delivery, and failing to fulfil its obligations on grant spending.
He said that the municipality was also operating with heads of key portfolios suspended, widespread corruption and maladministration at its Wonderboom national airport, and racking up R5 billion in irregular expenditure.
The Constitutional Court dismissed Makhura, Maile and the EFF’s applications for leave to appeal the high court ruling.