Traders take on mayor Msimanga and metro boss Mosola for contempt of court
Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga and the metro’s boss, Moeketsi Mosola, are fighting off a contempt of court order application that could, if granted, result in the duo serving a jail term of up to four months each.
The crux of the case is the alleged elbowing out of about 300 informal traders who have been plying their trade at the Denneboom station in Mamelodi by the metro and developers to make way for the construction of the R1.3bn Mamelodi Regional Mall.
The traders approached Lawyers for Human Rights in 2015 after learning of their impending fate, with paving and electricity supply to their stalls.
In February last year the parties reached an agreement, which was made an order of the court by Justice Janse van Niewenhuizen, that their electricity will be reconnected, paving relaid, the traders be allocated a temporary trading site and that they be consulted on their future.
But their stalls were nevertheless destroyed in September last year and the traders say they were yet to see the containers they were promised.
The traders yesterday approached the high court in Pretoria for an order finding Msimanga and Mosola in contempt of court.
Arguing through their Lawyers for Human Rights appointed advocate, Anna-Marie De Vos, the traders argued that Msimanga and Mosola were duty-bound to ensure that the court order was adhered to.
She argued that all the applicants had to prove was whether there was a court order, whether it was duly served and whether there was noncompliance.
De Vos said the duo had admitted knowledge of the order and that the basis of their cases was whether there was noncompliance.
She said the duo must explain to the court why they should not be held personally liable for the contempt of court.
“Evidently the burden is on the respondents to prove that they were not liable and to show why they should not be held accountable…the only way [the duo] can avoid this is if they delegated that responsibility,” she argued.
Representing Msimanga and Mosola, Adrian Vorster said there was no factual allegation against his clients as the order operated against the municipality and not individuals.
He said Msimanga and Mosola were not party to the proceedings that resulted in the order being granted.
“There should be a factual allegation that [Msimanga and Mosola] frustrated the order or did something wilfully to frustrate the order. It is not factual that because they are mayor and municipal manager then they are personally liable for the order,” he said.
Judge Nomsa Khumalo stood down the matter until today, with an inspection in loco planned for some time this week.