Cape Town - Argument over who should pay the legal bills of former rural development and land reform minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in the District Six ruling delivered last year, was heard in the Western Cape High Court.
Nkoana-Mashabane who is now Minister in the Presidency for Woman, Youth and Persons with Disabilities brought an application for leave to appeal against the court order (and personal costs order) that was granted against her in August last year, in relation to restitution for the people of District Six.
Helen Ngomane representing Nkoana-Mashabane said they were challenging the court’s findings.
“The minister does not accept the findings, she cannot bear the brunt let’s be fair to her. We are approaching this court on the basis that another court would come to a different conclusion,”
Nkoana-Mashabane’s heads of arguments stated that the court made an error in granting an order that she should pay the legal cost in her own capacity. It also stated that the court erred in finding that the threshold for a personal cost against a public official is met under circumstances of this matter.
The court found Nkoana-Mashabane failed to comply with a November court order to come up with a proper restitution plan for District Six claimants. A costs order was issued against her. Acting Judge of the Land Claims Court, Thembeka Ngcukaitobi raised questions about who would foot the bill: “I found that she (Nkoana-Mashabane) must pay personally not the taxpayer. The fault lies with her. I understand that we must be fair to her but who pays for the cost? It’s either she must pay or the taxpayer.”
Geoff Budlender who represents the District Six working committee said: “It’s a gross abuse of the minister to use funds of her office to foot the bill. The minister is looking for a