City of Tshwane is not dysfunctional, DA insists
“Services are continuing. Traffic is flowing, our electricity is on, water is running and we don’t have the sheriff coming in and seizing our assets due to non-payment to Eskom,” Mike Moriarty, DA provincial leader said outside the North Gauteng High Court.
He was part of the DA leadership, together with DA caucus leader in the Gauteng Legislature, Solly Msimanga, Gauteng North regional chairperson Abel Tau and Tshwane mayoral candidate Randall Williams, who filed court papers in their urgent application.
They will ask the court for an urgent order to set aside and declare invalid the decision of the Gauteng Executive Council (GEC) to dissolve the City of Tshwane municipality and to appoint an administrator.
They are also asking for an order forcing all ANC and EFF councillors to attend and remain in attendance at all council meetings, unless they had a lawful reason to be absent.
The DA said the matter was urgent and had enormous constitutional and practical consequences. It means that the term of office of all Tshwane councillors, who were elected in 2016, will come to an immediate end. An administrator will be appointed and new elections will have to be held within three months.
The DA is of the opinion that the dissolution decision was unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid.
On March 5, Premier David Makhura announced that the GEC had resolved to dissolve the City.
Williams said in an affidavit filed at court that this means that one sphere of government (the province) decided that another sphere of government (the municipality) must vacate their offices.
He said this was invalid for a number of reasons, including that the Gauteng council did not issue any prior notice of its intention to dissolve the municipality, nor did it afford the municipality the opportunity to make representations. Thus, he said, the procedure was flawed.
Williams said the premier and the GEC said the DA failed to fulfil their executive obligations, but it remains unclear what obligations they claimed were breached.
He said given the protracted history of the Gauteng Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile’s “unlawful meddling” in the municipality, as well as the ANC and EFF councillors’ unlawful refusal to participate in council meetings, it was clear that the dissolution decision was taken for an ulterior political purpose.
“This is also clear from the Gauteng EC’s failure to intervene in other municipalities,” he said.
Williams said if the court was unable to grant this order at this stage, it must at least suspend the effect of the dissolution decision in the interim, pending a review application.
He said the matter was urgent because unless the decision is set aside or suspended by March 20, the municipal council will be dissolved by March 21 and an administrator will take over.
He said the DA only received a copy of the resolution recording on March 10 and it launched this application within two days.
Both Msimanga and Moriarty, meanwhile, outside court said they were confident that the court would rule in their favour. Moriarty said the issue at hand was that for months the ANC and the EFF had continually collapsed council meetings.
“Nevertheless services continue to be delivered, despite the council not being able to form a quorum due to the walkouts,” he said.
He questioned why Maile did not interfere in the dysfunctional municipalities such as Mwerafong and Lesedi. “The answer is simple, these municipalities are being run by the ANC,” he said.