DA rejects ANC and EFF’s appeal against court ruling
10 May 2020
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has noted the legal actions being taken by the African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) seeking to reverse the Gauteng North High Court judgement that overturned the illegal dissolution of the Tshwane Council by the provincial government.
The DA has instructed its lawyers to oppose the appeal.
The problem is that the mere launching of an application to appeal had the effect of holding the Tshwane judgement in abeyance.
The Administrators can therefore carry on working and the lawfully elected Councillors remain out of office. Thus a Council meeting to elect a new Mayor cannot be held.
In its ruling, the High Court was scathing in its criticism of the Provincial Government’s unlawful actions and its feeble attempts to provide legal justification.
Moreover, the High Court reaffirmed multiple previous judgements that had overturned similar actions of other provinces that tried to dissolve other municipalities.
These cases set a high precedent for circumstances that warrant intervention. In so doing, the courts protected the constitutional status of a municipality as an independent sphere of government, equal to provincial and national spheres. So it is highly questionable whether either the ANC or the EFF actually have a case.
This begs the question of why they are willing to waste money in all of this when they have virtually no prospect of success.
The ANC and EFF have claimed that the Court has breached its right to disrupt meetings. Is this why they want to go to Court, to be disruptive?
They go further to claim that because the Council could not keep a quorum then this was an exceptional circumstance that justified dissolution. Thus the ANC has exposed its strategy to render the Council ungovernable in order to take control. In so doing, they show themselves as being unable to accept the democratic will of the voters.
It cannot accept losing power.
The ANC is intent on grabbing back power by foul means if it cannot win by fair means.
The DA will continue to fight for principle and defend the will and wellbeing of the residents of Tshwane. Accordingly:
We will file papers to oppose the direct access to the Constitutional Court by both the ANC and the EFF;
We will oppose the EFF’s motion for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal;
But most significantly, tomorrow we will file papers in the Gauteng North High Court. In this regard, we will ask the Court to use rule 18 (3) to order that the judgement to overturn the dissolution of Tshwane Council be effective immediately.
For the DA, the principles are clear.
Any municipality should operate without fear of undue intervention from a provincial government.
Why is this important?
Well, next year the ANC is likely to lose control of dozens of municipalities to minority governments.
But they will be in provinces where the ANC is still dominant.
If we don’t stop them in Tshwane then the precedent will be set.
All these councils will be vulnerable and exposed to interference and a corruption of the system. The will of the people will be subverted.
The other principle is this: should any party be able to take control through disruption, or even violence. Definitely not.
The Courts must not reward the ANC’s strategy of ungovernability in the places where it has lost control.
Neither must the Courts reward the EFF’s politics of chaos.
Issued by Mike Moriarty, DA Gauteng Provincial Chairperson, 10 May 2020