Three of the largest political parties represented in the City of Tshwane will be at the Constitutional Court on Thursday to present their opposing views after the decision to dissolve the council earlier this year. File picture: Masi Losi/Independent Media
Three of the largest political parties represented in the City of Tshwane will be at the Constitutional Court on Thursday to present their opposing views after the decision to dissolve the council earlier this year. File picture: Masi Losi/Independent Media

Concourt to decide City of Tshwane's fate

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Sep 10, 2020

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Pretoria - Three of the largest political parties represented in the City of Tshwane will be at the Constitutional Court on Thursday to present their opposing views after the decision to dissolve the council earlier this year.

The Gauteng government, the ANC and the EFF are challenging the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, judgment overturning the decision to dissolve the council - a ruling in favour of the DA.

The DA, which ran the municipality until the council was dissolved in March, argued that the dissolution of the council was unlawful as it failed to comply with the procedural requirements of the Constitution.

In its written submissions to the apex court, the provincial government states that it disbanded the City of Tshwane council because it was in disarray and had been unable to convene a meeting in six months; the municipality was without a mayor, a mayoral committee and a city manager.

Premier David Makhura also wants to have the High Court decision set aside and replaced with an order dismissing the DA’s application with costs.

In his affidavit, Human Settlements, Urban Planning, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile insisted that local government in Tshwane had collapsed due to the fragile coalition between the DA and the EFF that ousted the ANC after the 2016 municipal elections.

“The real victims of all this politicking are the people of the City of Tshwane.

“A rudderless council means the City is unable to make executive decisions and unable to fulfil executive obligations,” Maile said.

The Constitution did not allow a dysfunctional local government to somehow sort itself out, hence the provincial government intervened and Head Administrator Mpho Nawa was appointed, he said.

Makhura, his executive council and Maile are challenging the decision by the full bench of the High Court - Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo and judges Sulet Potterill and Natvarlal Ranchod - ordering ANC and EFF councillors to attend all council meetings unless they have a lawful reason to be absent. The court had earlier declared the decision to dissolve the council invalid and set it aside.

But the provincial government wants the Constitutional Court to correct the High Court’s interpretation of section 139 (of the Constitution).

“On the correct test - the one faithful to the text and faithful to the deferential standard of rationality review - the provincial government’s decision should stand,” reads its submission.

The DA is opposing the provincial government, the ANC and the EFF’s applications for leave to appeal the High Court ruling. It said there were deliberate disruptions caused by ANC and EFF councillors to create chaos and paralyse the council for their own political advantage by repeatedly walking out of council meetings or failing to attend, thus breaking the quorum and preventing any decisions from being taken.

According to the DA, Maile used the chaos as a smokescreen to seize control of the council and dissolve it.

EFF councillors will tell the Concourt that the urgency and importance of the matter requires a resolution of the dispute for the benefit of Tshwane residents.

Without a speedy resolution, basic services cannot be rendered.

The ANC, which wants the High Court orders set aside, said the dispute should be speedily resolved as there is a general collapse of leadership and governance in Tshwane.

Pretoria News

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