High Court halts Umvoti Municipality and Mayor from imposing rates

2017-07-05 06:02

IN an urgent judgment issued by Judge Bezuidenhout in the Pietermaritzburg High Court last Friday, Umvoti Municipality Mayor and others were “interdicted, prevented and stopped from implementing on 1 July the budget approved at the meeting of the council held on 31 May this year”.

Former Umvoti Mayor, PG Mavundla filed the motion together with supporting affidavits and a petition from the Umvoti community.
First respondent was Umvoti Municipality, second was Mayor Thami Ngubane, and further respondents Cogta and KZN
Finance MECs, Minister of Finance and KZN Premier.

Furthermore the interdict stops and prevents the transfer to any person of the properties in Extension 9 and Extension 14 as advertised in the Greytown Gazette of 21 June.

The court also ordered that the mayor and any municipal officials, who have flagrantly disregarded their obligations in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act and the country’s Constitution, to pay the costs in their personal capacities.
The respondents have until 26 July to show cause why this order should not be implemented.

In making the application, Mr Mavundla said he was a resident and property owner in Umvoti. He had an obligation to protect community members of the First Respondent (municipality) in that they had been disregarded in the budget approval processes and also to ensure that State properties were disposed of in terms of the Constitution and legislation.
Both the municipality and the mayor had not complied with the constitutional and legislative obligations, which was a
serious breach in terms of the MFMA.
The matter was urgent as the budget, including rates and tariffs, which had not been approved by council, would be implemented from 1 July.

On 12 June, the applicant had addressed a letter to the mayor pointing out there had been serious non-compliance with various Acts in regard to the budget and IDP (reported in Greytown Gazette over the past months), late receipt of council agendas, total lack of transparency, exorbitant amount spent unnecessarily, eg., workshop at Umhlanga, late and very limited information to public, no rates or tariffs tabled in documents, but passed by council, and much more.
Mr Mavundla stated that if no response was received within 72 hours further action would be instituted.

As no response whatsoever was received from Umvoti Municipality or the Umvoti Mayor legal proceedings were instituted.

The applicant’s legal team requested the High Court to hear the matter as a matter of urgency as in terms of the legislation the “new” rates would be imposed on ratepayers as from 1 July.

Notice of the interdict was served on the respondents on Friday by the Greytown sheriff at the town offices. At the time of going to press there had been no response or comment from the municipality.

A Greytown Gazette reporter, who has not attended a council meeting for some months, was really intrigued to note the following features at Friday’s meeting to approve the IDP:

• In response to a query from the opposition as to why there were no minutes of the last special meeting, the mayor stated there were ordinary and special council meetings, but as “special” items were considered at the special meetings no minutes were required. Minutes were only required for ordinary meetings.

• IFP councillors stated they would not participate in the meeting because of the many illegalities in the processing of the budget and the IDP, which it did not condone in any way. The IFP councillors then left the meeting and deputy mayor Masikane, from her seat at the mayoral table, actually waved to the IFP councillors and said “goodbye”.

• The meeting started at 10am - with a huge supply of sandwiches and scones laid out for the councillors and staff. The mayor, however, was served with special sandwiches during the meeting by staff.

The municipality, the mayor, Cogta and the other respondents now have three weeks - until 26 July - to conform with the legislation, rectify the many wrongs and provide much-needed and neglected services, full information, transparency and communication with all Umvoti residents.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.