ANC ignores the law in haste to seize power in Tshwane

The writer says the ANC are hellbent on seizing power in Tshwane through any and all undemocratic means possible.
The writer says the ANC are hellbent on seizing power in Tshwane through any and all undemocratic means possible.
Image: City of Tshwane

The decision by the Gauteng provincial executive to seek an appeal against the court judgment ruling that the dissolution of the Tshwane council was unlawful is indicative of how the ANC no longer cares about justice and the constitution.

Instead they are hellbent on seizing power in Tshwane through any and all undemocratic means possible. Last week, the North Gauteng High Court issued a scathing judgment against the Gauteng provincial executive and their antics in attempting to seize power in Tshwane.

The judges systematically dismantled every single argument that the province deployed in their desperate attempt to illegitimately dissolve the Tshwane council.

There was not a single issue of substance that David Makhura and Lebogang Maile's lawyers were able to convince the judges on. The court ruling emphasised repeatedly how specific issues were not argued substantively or how in some cases the province simply did not have any evidence to back up their claims.

Further to that the courts unpacked Maile's responsibilities in terms of the Systems Act, highlighting that when councillors fail to do their duties such as attending meetings he has a responsibility to discipline those councillors.

Of course, because those councillors belong to the ANC, MEC Maile causally ignored the regulations and instead embarked on an illegitimate campaign to destabilise service delivery in Tshwane by choosing to dissolve council.

Instead of using the court judgment as a moment to enlighten oneself about the law of the country, Maile and Makhura have chosen to rather live under their veil of ignorance by pursuing the option of launching an appeal.

It is difficult to imagine how individuals choose to be so willfully oblivious to the law and what it prescribes. Last week, I described Maile as a constitutional delinquent. He seems intent on proving me right.

All is also not well in the ANC camp either. In Tshwane, the Pretoria News reported how Kgosi Maepa, the ANC regional chairperson and caucus leader, is facing open revolt from the councillors in his caucus.

Many of them were jubilant at the fact that the DA's court case had succeeded and that they would get their jobs back. Some ANC councillors went as far as openly criticising Maepa for actively maintaining his lavish lifestyle as his own people and councillors suffered during the lockdown.

It is also clear that many members of the ANC caucus in Tshwane never supported the decision to dissolve the Tshwane council to begin with.

It was a decision that was taken without their input and imposed on them.

Many ANC councillors eagerly want to return to work, yet their provincial leadership feels they should remain dissolved. What started out as merely disagreements are now becoming open factional battles in the Tshwane ANC.

Stubbornness and ignorance are a dangerous combination and it seems both Makhura and Maile have an equal distribution of both. The decision to approach the courts to appeal is the height of foolishness and will likely blow up spectacularly for them as did their initial decision to dissolve the Tshwane council.

The judgment that indicated that the dissolution was unlawful was passed by a full bench of the high court. Further to that, they ordered punitive damages against both Maile and Makhura in instructing them to pay the DA's legal fees.

When the courts issue such a ruling and when it comes from a full bench it usually means two things.

The first is that they are very confident in their judgment. The second is that they are trying to tell the party that lost the case (Makhura and Maile) that they should take the time to go and actually learn what the law says.

*Msimanga is former Tshwane mayor, now DA leader of the official opposition in the Gauteng legislature

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