Maile feels vindicated after ConCourt ruling on Tshwane administration

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Lebogang Maile. (Tebogo Letsie, Gallo Images, file)
Lebogang Maile. (Tebogo Letsie, Gallo Images, file)
  • Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cogta Lebogang Maile feels vindicated by a Constitutional Court ruling on the decision to put the Tshwane municipality under administration.
  • He said all three judgments  - one majority and two minority - found that the council was dysfunctional.
  • He defended the administrators against the DA's accusations that it left the City in a shambles.

Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Lebogang Maile feels vindicated by the Constitutional Court's ruling on the provincial executive committee's decision to put the Tshwane municipality under administration last year.

In a majority judgment handed down on Monday, the court found that the Gauteng government "... misconstrued its powers and failed to apply itself" when it put the municipality under administration.

The apex court upheld a High Court decision in April 2020 to set aside the province's decision to put the council under administration.

In October last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court.

Apart from the majority judgment, there were two minority judgments, one penned by outgoing Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Maile spent much time unpacking all three judgments.

However, only the majority judgment has an effect, and it found: 

[The] provincial government misconstrued its powers and failed to apply itself to the issues faced by the municipality. It is clear to me that the dissolution decision should be set aside and that the municipality should be allowed to do its job. The dissolution decision falls to be set aside on the basis of offending the principles of lawfulness.

Maile pointed out that all three judgments found that the council was dysfunctional.

"It is undisputed that all the courts that dealt with this case accepted that the municipal council was dysfunctional and that despite attempts by the provincial government to intervene by taking the appropriate steps to remedy the situation, the dysfunctionality continued unabated. 

READ | ConCourt finds Gauteng government unlawfully placed Tshwane under administration

"In all judgments, the court also accepted that the dysfunctionality resulted in the public not receiving the services that the Constitution dictates must be provided by the municipality, meaning that the municipality was failing dismally to fulfil its executive obligations," Maile said.

He added that that they approached the Constitutional Court to get clarity on their interpretation of the law.

"We were paraded as people who don't think, who are reckless, who don't know what they're doing."

According to Maile, the three judgments mean that the accusations are invalid.

"We can't be accused of any other thing," he said.

The DA has run the municipality since 2016 after forming a coalition with smaller parties and striking a deal with the EFF.

ALSO READ | SCA rules in DA's favour, dismisses Gauteng govt decision to dissolve Tshwane council

However, it has been plagued by instability and relations with the EFF later soured.

Last year, the council also failed to pass its adjustment budget, which had to be done at the beginning of March, among other legislated functions, after council meetings failed to quorate because the ANC and EFF walked out.

The Gauteng government put the City under administration in March 2020.

After the judgment on Monday, the DA had a press conference. It welcomed the ruling. Tshwane Mayor Randall Williams said it justified the DA's belief that the "... whole administration process was orchestrated by the ANC", with the EFF's support.

Provincial leader Solly Msimanga said he was glad that the ruling came before the municipal elections because it set the precedent that no province could "abuse processes" to dismantle a municipality. The DA also accused the administrators of leaving the City in a shambles, with a R4.3 billion deficit.

Maile denied that there was a deficit, and said if there was any wrongdoing, litigation would have been started.

"We know our opponents are drama queens generally," he said.

Maile said:

We would like to categorically refute and dismiss the constant, unfounded attacks on the competency and integrity of the team of administrators deployed in Tshwane for the duration of the intervention. This was a team of technically proficient, qualified, skilled, seasoned administrators who restored stability and governance to the City of Tshwane, whilst working amid the unique environment of Covid-19, hence one of them is still continuing to help the City of Tshwane in the position of acting City manager.

Maile said he would consult with Premier David Makhura and the provincial executive committee on the way forward.

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