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Judgment reserved in Moutse case

2011-03-10 17:59

Johannesburg - Judgment in the case over the re-demarcation of Moutse from Mpumalanga to Limpopo was reserved in the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Moutse residents have approached the court to have the re-demarcation deemed invalid.

They argued that the government used apartheid-style tactics to re-demarcate the township without proper consultation - a claim the government has denied.

Residents clad in red SA Communist Party T-shirts proclaiming that the township belonged in Mpumalanga for life attended Thursday's hearing in support of the Moutse Demarcation Forum and 15 individuals who brought the application.

It has been brought against President Jacob Zuma and 17 organs of state.

The residents have challenged the constitutionality of the laws under which Moutse was re-demarcated on the grounds that they were irrational.

'Constitution contravened'

They also claimed the Mpumalanga legislature had failed to facilitate public participation in the process that led to the province supporting the Constitution Twelfth Amendment Act and the Cross-boundary Municipalities Laws Repeal and Related Matters Act in the National Council of Provinces.

They argued that, by this failure, the provincial legislature contravened Section 118 of the Constitution.

They further argued that the demarcation came with inconveniences for the community.

However, the government's legal representative, Advocate Vincent Maleka, argued that this was incorrect.

He said Moutse and Siyabuswa were not geographically continuously linked as there were open spaces of farms between them.

He contended that the laws the residents opposed were rational as they served legitimate government purposes such as service delivery and economic development.

Maleka told the court several public meetings had been held by the provincial legislature's portfolio committee in the affected area, which included Moutse.

The residents' legal representative submitted that they had been given short notice of the meetings.

Maleka said the short notice had been an indication of the urgency of the matter.

The hearing continues.