Lebogang Maile accepts court ruling but defends decision to dissolve Tshwane council
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Pretoria - Gauteng Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Lebogang Maile yesterday accepted the Constitutional Court ruling on Monday that the dissolution of the Tshwane council was “unlawful”.
Maile, however, stuck to his guns that the decision to intervene in the running of the metro was justified by the dysfunctional state of the council.
The decision was taken by the provincial executive committee on March 4 last year, and implemented by the custodian department led by Maile, who effectively placed the metro under administration and disbanded the council in line with Section 139 (1)(c) of the Constitution.
At a media briefing in Sandton, he made mockery of the DA honchos, labelling them as “domkops” who rushed to celebrate the judgment without reading through it.
According to him, the ruling should not be accepted “selectively” because the “Concourt did not deliver one unanimous judgment”.
He accused the DA of embarking on a “public disinformation campaign” in the wake of the judgment.
Commenting on the ruling, Tshwane DA mayor Randall Williams said: “It was obvious from the court judgment that the ANC’s action to put the City of Tshwane under administration for a period of eight months, from March to October 2020, was a politically motivated power grab on the part of MEC Maile.
“There was no justification for removing elected DA councillors from their positions and replacing them with administrators who left the City in chaos and near financial ruin.”
Maile emphasised that there were three judgments and that all of them held the view that the intervention was justified owing to council’s dysfunctionality.
Critical about the DA's stance, he said: “They also would not accept the fact that the court, in all three judgments, found that council was severely dysfunctional. What they fail to recognise or conveniently overlook is that the first judgment took an approach that serves to guide the government on how to manage the tensions that exist between the different spheres, especially where one sphere is failing the people.”
Despite the sentiment shared by the majority judgment that the council was dysfunctional, it found the dissolution decision to be unwarranted and unlawful.
The court ordered that the MEC must invoke his powers in terms of item 14(4) of Schedule 1 of the Systems Act by appointing a person or a committee to investigate the cause of the deadlock within the municipal council.
Maile said he would consult with Premier David Makhura and the executive committee “on the order that the MEC must invoke his powers to conduct a full investigation into the cause of the deadlock and dysfunctionality of the municipal council of the City of Tshwane”.
He rubbished “unfounded attacks” on the competence and integrity of administrators deployed in Tshwane after the council’s dissolution, saying they were “technically proficient, qualified, skilled, seasoned administrators who restored stability and governance to the City of Tshwane”.
He further said: “In all judgments the court also accepted that the dysfunctionality resulted in the public not receiving the services that the Constitution dictates must be provided by the municipality, meaning that the municipality was failing dismally to fulfil its executive obligations.”