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Eastern Cape govt to appeal court order to dissolve Makana Municipality Council

Jan 30, 2020
Eastern Cape govt to appeal court order to dissolve Makana Municipality Council

Makhanda - The Eastern Cape Provincial government's Executive Council on Wednesday announced that it took a decision to appeal the judgement handed down by the Grahamstown division of the High Court of South Africa against the Makana Local Municipality.

The court ordered the Executive Council to dissolve the Makana Local Municipality Council, citing the Municipality's breach of Section 152 (1) of the Constitution as it failed to provide services in a sustainable manner and section 153 for failing to manage its administration.

"The Eastern Cape Provincial Government sought legal advice on the appropriate course of action in responding to the judgement," said Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, who is the spokesperson of Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane.

"The advice solicited advised the Executive Council on the appealability of the judgement, which broadly advised on the incorrect interpretation of legislative provisions, the doctrine of separation of powers and the perceived bias appearing from the judgement.

"There are sound grounds upon which an appeal maybe lodged and that another court may find differently."

Sicwetsha said that the decision to appeal does not suggest that the Executive Council believes that there are no challenges in Makana.

"The Executive Council is of the view that the work it is doing through an intervention in Makana must be taken into consideration by the court. One of the reasons for this is because the intervention has helped the municipality to pay its Eskom account on a regular basis. Our commitment is to support the municipality to be able to sustainably provide services to the people of Makana."

Sicwetsha added that the Provincial Government highlighted the current support to the Makana Municipality, which was placed before the court, but was not considered by the court. The provincial government has harnessed support from the National Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency (MISA), Department of Water and Sanitation, Amatole Water and Eastern Cape Development Cooperation (ECDC).

He said that these are some of the outcomes of the support which was not considered by the court:

a)    Development of data optimization systems which provides Makana with online access to cost-effective database;

b)    The fact that by April 2019 Department of Water and Sanitation had allocated R78 million for upgrade of water treatment works to store 20 megakilolitres and allocated R35 million for water conversion and refurbishment of the water treatment plant;

c)    R22 million allocated for drought relief and identification of new boreholes;

d)    The fact that as a result of the support, Bulk water is now extracted from the Fish River and delivered to the Eastern part of Makana;

e)    ECDC's assistance to assist in the implementation of sewer infrastructure upgrades.

"These interventions were part of a broader programme of support by the Provincial Government to the municipality, which had a major impact on the stabilization of the services rendered by the Municipality."

On the papers filed by Let's Talk Komani against Eastern Cape Premier and 14 others

"We can confirm that the provincial government has received papers of an application by Let's talk Komani that is seeking a relief akin to what was sought by the Unemployed people's movement in Makana. They are asking the court to dissolve the Enoch Mgijima local Municipality," Sicwetsha said.

"The Executive Council is considering the content of the application, whilst the provincial CoGTA department is engaging the Enoch Mgijima Municipality.

"All these processes will result in the decision of the Executive Council on the appropriate response with regards to this particular application.

"The decision will be taken at the next meeting of the Executive Council scheduled for the first week of February 2020."

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