Court overturns rates interdict

2017-07-12 06:00

FOLLOWING the temporary interdict granted on June 30 preventing the municipality from implementing the 2017/18 budget, High Court Judge Mehandra Chetty last Thursday set aside the interdict allowing Umvoti Municipality to go ahead and implement the budget.
This was in response to an urgent application to reverse the interdict from all the respondents, Umvoti Municipality, the mayor, Cogta MEC, Minister of Finance and the KZN Premier.

Advocates for the various parties presented arguments for several hours.

Judge Chetty discharged the interim interdict in its entirety and also ordered the applicant, PG Mavundla, to pay costs. The judge did not give any detailed reasons for this ruling. The applicant has requested Judge Chetty to provide his reasons for overturning the interdict.

In support of their application the respondents said the effects of the court order had been to “completely paralyse” Umvoti Municipality and it was “founded on inaccurate information”.

In a statement to the Greytown Gazette the applicant, former Umvoti Mayor P.G. Mavundla said: “We respect the decision of the High Court in Pietermaritzburg, however, we are going to appeal the decision and we are confident that we will win and there will be no need to take this matter to the highest court in the land as we are of a strong view that our constitutional right to have a say and be heard is being trampled on by the Umvoti Councillors.”

In regard to the implementation of the budget, Mr Mavundla said: “As for the implementation of the budget we still don't know which one is going to be implemented as we have one with a R5 million surplus and another one with over R30 million deficit. “We have one that has no tariff changes and we also have one that has tariffs that have been changed whereby you will be paying closer to R500 for a pack of 25 garbage bags while it costs less than R50 for a pack of 20 at the local supermarket.

At this stage we will say as little as possible until the whole matter has run its course.”

The High Court interdict granted on 30 June by Judge Bezuidenhout not only stopped the implementation of the budget from 1 July, but also stopped Umvoti from transferring two municipal-owned properties, Extension 9 and Extension 14, to other parties.

Mavundla alleged that Umvoti and its officials had “flagrantly disregarded it obligations in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Constitution”.

A petition of support signed by 20 ratepayers was part of these submissions.

Advocate Andrea Gabriel, for the municipality, said the applicant had not disclosed the “full and correct” facts to the court and papers lodged by the municipality revealed that an “extensive and year-long” public consultation process had taken place before it was passed.

Umvoti Mayor Thami Ngubane told the Greytown Gazette he will issue a statement for the issue of Wednesday 19 July.

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