Constitutional Court confirms Gauteng government erred in placing Tshwane under administration
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Pretoria - Tshwane mayor Randall Williams yesterday welcomed the Constitutional Court ruling confirming that the Gauteng provincial government erred in placing the metro under administration last year.
“The Constitutional Court’s ruling vindicates the DA’s stance that MEC Lebohang Maile’s decision to dissolve the council and place the City of Tshwane under administration was unlawful,” he 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.”
In its judgment yesterday, the Constitutional Court said that last year’s dissolution of the City of Tshwane by the Gauteng government was unlawful and unwarranted.
The provincial government was ordered to pay the respondents legal costs including the costs of two counsel members.
The decision to put the capital city government under administration was made last year by the Gauteng executive and affirmed by the National Council of Provinces.
This was largely because council was failing to conduct day-to-day business because of political squabbles during sittings.
The majority judgment handed down by the apex court affirmed both the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, and the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling that dissolving the metro was unlawful. The government had appealed the judgment of the two courts.
In the judgment where Gauteng Premier David Makhura was listed as first applicant, DA and Tshwane mayor Randall Williams first and second respondents respectfully, the court stated that the appeal was dismissed.
It read in part: “The member of the executive council for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Gauteng, is ordered to invoke his powers in terms of item 14 (4) of schedule 1 of the local government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000, to appoint a person or a committee to investigate the cause of deadlock of the City of Tshwane metropolitan municipal council and to make recommendations as to an appropriate sanction.”
Reading the judgment, Justice Mothopo AJ said: “In the circumstances, the question to be asked is whether the decision to dissolve the municipal counsel was appropriate? I think not because the facts do not support such a decision.
“The provincial government misconstrued its powers and failed to apply itself to the issues faced by the municipality. It is clear that the dissolution decision should be set aside and that the municipality should be allowed to do its job.”