Court sets aside Tshwane council dissolution

The Tshwane Metro city council. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI
The Tshwane Metro city council. Picture: THAPELO MOREBUDI

The high court in Pretoria has set aside the dissolution of the Tshwane council, saying the move was inappropriate, unlawful and drastic.

The council was dissolved by the Gauteng provincial government in March after council meetings constantly collapsed. The municipality had no mayor, no mayoral committee and no municipal manager at the time that it was dissolved. 

The DA brought the court application to challenge the decision by the ANC-led provincial government that dissolved the council. The municipality was governed by a DA-led coalition after the 2016 local government elections until mayor Stevens Mokgalapa was voted out of office. 

In a significant victory for the DA, the high court said the decision by the provincial government was too drastic. It said there were less intrusive measures that could have been taken by the provincial executive to address the root cause of the council’s inability to do its job.

While the provincial executive justified the move to dissolve the council with a multitude of reasons, the court said the high water marks of its claims were that the municipality was leaderless, and that the council meetings continually collapsed.

The court, however, pointed out the role of the EFF and ANC councillors, whose walkouts led to the meetings collapsing, saying the province could have taken action against those councillors, but did not. 

The court said the less intrusive measures that could have been taken were not considered. “This is what impels us to conclude that taking the dissolution decision was inappropriate.” 

The court ordered that the EFF and ANC councillors attend council meetings and remain in attendance unless they have a lawful reason to be absent.

The orders given by the court pertaining to setting aside the dissolution, as well as ordering the EFF and ANC councillors to be present at council meetings, were suspended until five days after level five of the lockdown is lifted. 

SA is set to go to level four of the nationwide lockdown on Friday.