Service delivery case could start trend
Nelspruit - Independent political analyst Zweli Mncube has predicated that more residents will resort to taking the government to court to get basic services.
This follows Mpumalanga businessman Abu Bakr Omar's successful court action against the Victor Khanye local municipality in Delmas that has now been ordered to repair potholes.
Omar took the municipality to court after writing letters to transport minister Sbu Ndebele and provincial public works, roads and transport MEC Clifford Mkasi about potholes on the R555 road in Delmas.
On Wednesday, the municipality dispatched municipal trucks to start filling the holes following a June 28 Johannesburg High Court order instructing the municipality to do so within 72 hours.
“In the next few years we will see a lot of cases where residents will be taking government to court because it is now becoming a trend to demand service delivery through the courts or protests," Mncube told African Eye News Service.
Mncube said people had a right to go to court if they were not happy about service delivery or any other matters.
However, Mncube warned that without money to pay lawyers, communities would find themselves in a tight corner.
"It would be helpful if lawyers in this country could assist residents in cases of this nature. In the US and Europe, young lawyers, who are still trying to penetrate the market, assist community members to launch cases of this nature.
Blow to ANC
"They offer their assistance for free of charge in order to acquire experience and to demonstrate that they can win serious cases,” said Mncube.
Mncube added that should such a trend gain quick momentum, it would be a big blow to the ruling ANC.
Provincial public works, roads and transport spokesperson David Nkambule said he was not aware of the court order or of the potholes being filled in Delmas.
“There was never any correspondence directed to the department by any lawyer or civil organisation. Nor has the department in any or other way whatsoever been brought before the court. Therefore, we cannot comment on the matter or about an order of which we are not aware,” said Nkambule.
On Friday, Victor Khanye municipal spokesperson Ronald du Toit was not available for comment as his phone was unanswered.
The national government has announced a R22bn budget that will be spent on a national pothole repair programme over the next three years. The programme is expected to create 70 000 jobs in its first year