Makana Municipality to be dissolved, placed under administration - court orders

Members of the Unemployed People’s Movement protest outside the High Court in Makhanda in September. (Lucas Nowicki, GroundUp)
Members of the Unemployed People’s Movement protest outside the High Court in Makhanda in September. (Lucas Nowicki, GroundUp)

The High Court in Makhanda on Tuesday ordered that the Makana Municipality be dissolved and placed under administration for violating its constitutional mandate by failing to provide basic services to the community, GroundUp reports.

The application was brought by the Unemployed People's Movement (UPM) and other civil society organisations against the municipality, which was the first respondent, and several others in February 2019.

The applicants were represented by Wheeldon, Rushmere & Cole.

The case was heard in September. The Makana Municipality includes Makhanda, formerly Grahamstown.

The court order must be carried out by the provincial executive of the Eastern Cape, one of the respondents in the case.

Judge Igna Stretch wrote that the municipality's conduct had been "inconsistent with the 1996 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa", breaching section 152 (1) and section 153 (a) by "failing to promote a healthy and sustainable environment for the community".

An administrator will be appointed until elections for a new municipal council, as stipulated in section 139 (1) of the Constitution. The provincial executive should implement a recovery plan to guarantee the municipality meets its constitutional obligations.

The applicants accused the Makana Municipality of corruption, failure to provide water and sewerage services and serious neglect of municipal infrastructure, leaving roads filled with potholes and garbage.

In a statement released after the judgment, UPM chairperson Ayanda Kota said that "democracy has been served".

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