Knysna Municipal Manager must vacate position immediately – Anton Bredell

WCape Minister says this follows earlier ruling that Ombali Sebola's appointment null and void

High Court confirms order for Mr. Sebola to vacate his position as Knysna’s Municipal Manager with immediate effect.

11 June 2024

Today, a full bench of the Western Cape High Court heard Counsels representing Anton Bredell, Minister for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, together with legal representatives of cited parties in an appeal which was filed by Mr. Ombali Sebola, the Municipal Manager of Knysna Municipality.

The appeal was against the judgment of Pangarkar, AJ, where she granted the application by Minister Bredell to execute order of 10 May 2024 wherein it was ordered that the decision of the Knysna Municipal Council to appoint Mr. Sebola as Municipal Manager is null and void, and the Court set aside his appointment.

Despite Mr. Sebola filing a Notice of Withdrawal of the Appeal hours before today’s hearing, Counsel for Minister Bredell was instructed to seek punitive costs against Mr. Sebola. The Court, after hearing representations for punitive costs, expressed the view that the opposing parties to the appeal should not be out of pocket, especially in the instance where three Judges had to prepare for the hearing, including various Counsels opposing the appeal and the fact that the appellant only filed his notice of withdrawal on the morning of the appeal and making no tender for wasted costs. In the circumstances the Court ordered Mr. Ombali Sebola to pay costs on an attorney client scale, including the costs of the Counsels.

This means that Mr. Sebola must vacate his position as Municipal Manager with immediate effect. The pursuance of this case is evidence of Minister Bredell’s hard stance and zero tolerance towards unlawful decisions taken by Councils in the Western Cape province. Such cases can be avoided if Councils adhere to their legislative prescripts. This will save litigation costs, which are ultimately borne by their ratepayers.

Issued by Wouter Kriel, Spokesperson for Minister Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, 11 June 2024