DA Set To Elect New Tshwane Mayor Despite MEC Lebogang Maile’s Threats of Legal Action

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Photo: Social Media

Lucas Ledwaba

The DA in Tshwane said it was preparing for a Council meeting to elect a new mayor and appoint an acting city manager on Saturday.

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The party’s mayoral candidate Randal William told Inside Metro on Friday morning that they were waiting for the office of Gauteng MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs Lebogang Maile to send them legal papers of an appeal against last week’s high court decision.

Last week, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria overturned Maile’s decision to dissolve the Tshwane Council.

“We are still of the firm view that the reasons for Exco’s decision to dissolve the Tshwane Municipal Council are very solid, with much merit still, as contained in the dissolution notice. Both the Minister of COGTA and the National Council of Provinces were persuaded by the same reasons hence their concurrence,” Maile said in announcing his decision to appeal the judgment on Thursday.

He said Exco held that “another court, more specifically the Constitutional Court as the final arbiter will overturn the decision of the High Court, based on the strong merits of our decision. More importantly, the judgment raises important constitutional and legal issues and if these remain unchallenged and unclear as a result of that, it will set a bad precedent.”

Maile’s spokesperson Castro Ngobese told Inside Metroon Friday that the papers had been filed in the Constitutional Court on Thursday.

But William said they had not received any court papers and were preparing for a council meeting on Saturday.

He said the council meeting had to take place as Thursday’s court judgment effectively takes effect on Saturday.

He said there are two items on the agenda for the meeting, the first being the election of the mayor and the second one the appointment of an acting city manager.

In line with last week’s judgment, the terms of the administrative team appointed by Maile when he dissolved the council in March should end this week.

But Randall said they are in the dark about whether the administrators have had an impact on service delivery as they were reporting to Maile.

In his announcement on Thursday, Maile said the Exco’s grounds for appeal includes that “the judgment introduces and imposes two additional requirements to Section 139 of the Constitution based on unreported judgments of other High Courts…”

He argued that the High Court was quick to find that a municipality’s constitutional and statutory obligations are not always “executive obligations” under section 139.

“But the High Court never really explained the difference. The High Court’s interpretation is practically unworkable and inconsistent with previous judgments of the Constitutional Court on municipalities’ obligations embedded in the Constitution.”

He added that “proportionality: even though a decision to dissolve a municipal council is not administrative action, and even though the text of Section 139 does not use less-restrictive-means language, the High Court tested the dissolution decision against a proportionality

standard.”

Maile said the reasons for the judgment completely ignored “the overwhelming evidence presented before the court.”

“The High Court judgement has created more confusion as opposed to providing greater clarity on the dynamic interplay between provincial and local government and the checks and balances and constitutional responsibilities therein, guaranteed to protect the rights and interests of citizens and as a result of that, we feel it is important that a higher court, such as the Constitutional Court clarify this once and for all, in a precedent setting, binding manner,” Maile said in his announcement on Thursday.

The saga goes back to March 04 when the provincial executive council announced a decision to dissolve the Tshwane Municipal Council in accordance with Section 139(1)(c).

Maile said the decision was supported by Minister of Co-operative Governance Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and the National Council of Provinces who are cited as respondents in the matter.

The DA challenged the decision in court on 24 March.

The North Gauteng High Court on 29 April set aside the executive council’s decision, which Maile is now challenging.

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