Court rejects MEC’s appeal

2010-03-31 00:00

THE Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has rejected an appeal by the MEC for Local Government, Housing and Traditional Affairs aimed at obtaining a cost order against councillors of uMvoti Municipality.

The councillors defied his directions and voted for the appointment of Mangaliso Yengwa as municipal manager in May 2007.

According to the MEC at the time, Yengwa did not qualify to be appointed to the post as he did not have a bachelor’s degree in public administration or another relevant field.

The councillors, however, considered Yengwa to be appropriately qualified, despite his lack of academic qualifications.

By the time the case was heard in the high court in Pietermaritzburg, Yengwa had declared himself unavailable for the post.

However, the MEC pressed on with an application for the councillors to pay for legal costs.

The high court at the time not only dismissed the MEC’s application for costs, but also ruled that the regulation prescribing a bachelor’s degree for appointment to the post of municipal manager is unconstitutional.

The latter finding has now been overturned by the SCA due to the fact that the validity of the regulation is no longer an issue since Yengwa had withdrawn by the time the case was heard.

The SCA, however, upheld the high court’s ruling that the MEC was not entitled to recover legal costs from the councillors in proceedings that involved the performance of their functions or duties as councillors.

The SCA said in a statement yesterday that it has ordered the MEC to pay the costs of the uMvoti Municipality and councillors concerned.

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