ConCourt dismisses N West's appeal

2014-11-18 20:28
(File, Sapa)

(File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - An application for leave to appeal a high court decision denying a North West district municipality an urgent interdict against the provincial government was dismissed in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday.

"The municipality seeks to justify this direct appeal and access to this court on the grounds of urgency," the Constitutional Court said in its ruling.

"Urgency there is indeed, but it lies in ensuring the immediate provision of basic sanitation, water and other services to the affected communities and not in restoring the status of municipal councillors to the position from which they complain they have been unjustly removed."

The Ngaka Modiri Molema district municipality approached the Constitutional Court after the North West High Court in Mahikeng dismissed its application for an interdict against the dissolving of the council and the appointment of an administrator.

Five municipalities

The high court ruled in September that the dissolution of the council was effective and that the administrator should assume his duties and ensure basic services were delivered and legislative obligations met.

This followed a decision by the North West provincial executive committee on 3 September to dissolve the council and appoint administrator Kumaran Nair after several investigations into maladministration.

Among other things, the municipality, which is in charge of supplying water to residents across five municipalities, reportedly failed to address the Auditor General's disclaimers since 2011.

Loss of earnings

The municipality argued in the Constitutional Court that the province's intervention had negatively affected the municipality and its residents and resulted in failure to provide water to some areas.

The court noted it was not sufficient to allege that councillors would suffer harm because "of loss of earnings in salaries". The people who may suffer the real harm were not party to the court proceedings, the court ruled.

"It is because of the alleged failure in its executive obligation to them [residents] that the municipality was dissolved.

"For this and the other reasons relating to the interests of justice, the application for leave to appeal against the refusal of the interdict application must fail. Neither the municipality nor the municipal councillors will suffer irreparable harm."

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  service delivery

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