Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda has confirmed that he will be petitioning the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in a bid to challenge Monday’s High Court ruling over the invalid and unlawful appointment of city manager, Floyd Brink.
On Monday, the City of Johannesburg said that it would approach the SCA to overturn a Gauteng High Court, Johannesburg, judgment on the appointment of Brink.
The mayor, in a statement, accused Acting Judge Steven Budlender of enjoying a cordial relationship with the DA after he upheld its initial ruling on Brink’s appointment.
The city filed an application for leave to appeal after the same court had declared Brink’s appointment unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid.
Yesterday, Budlender dismissed the application for leave to appeal in what the city views as, “a grave error in judging the legal arguments and facts before the court and inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the legal arguments before court in both the initial matter and subsequently in the application for leave to appeal.”
“It remains a strongly held view of the city that a higher court may come to a different and independent conclusion on the said matter and as such the city has decided to consider the judgment, and to exercise its legal rights and to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to directly hear and adjudicate the matter,” Gwamanda said.
“From the onset, it has been a concern that the acting judge enjoys a close relationship with the DA, having acted for the party on numerous occasions including on matters relating to the City of Johannesburg. However, it has also been our duty to test the independence and impartiality of our courts even under such conditions of suspected bias.”
Brink was appointed in February this year under the administration of former mayor Thapelo Amad but the DA challenged his appointment in May.
The party claims Brink did not meet the minimum requirements of the job specifications, which mandated 10 years of senior management experience.
Following the judgment on Monday, the DA’s Johannesburg caucus leader, Belinda Kayser-Echeozonjoku, said the party had been vindicated by the court ruling.
Kayser-Echoezonjoku said the DA had always maintained that the party's mission was to safegaurd and protect Joburg citizens against the illegal conduct of the coalition government.
However, on Monday, following the judgment, Gwamanda said he believed the SCA might come to a different conclusion.
“It was the considered view of the city that the independence of the judiciary to act with discernment and fairness must be given due opportunity and respect.
“It remains a strongly held view of the city that a higher court may come to a different and independent conclusion on the said matter, and as such, the city has decided to consider the judgment and to exercise its legal rights and to petition the Supreme Court of Appeal to directly hear and adjudicate the matter,” said Gwamanda.
The DA has decried the money spent in the successive legal battles while residents of the city suffer due to lack of service delivery.
“While the executive has wasted hundreds of thousands of rands in this cumbersome legal process the city continues to slide down the hill.
“Our goal has always been to safeguard the citizens of Johannesburg against the illegal conduct that the ANC/EFF/PA Doomsday Coalition is so well known for... Today, our stance in this matter is, once more, vindicated,“ the DA said.