The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has reserved the judgement in the matter of the dissolution of the City Tshwane council after an eight-hour-long hearing that took place on Thursday, 10 September.
The City had been placed under administration in March after cooperative governance MEC Lebogang Maile dissolved the Democratic Alliance (DA) led Tshwane council.
While in court, it was agreed by both parties, which is the DA and Gauteng provincial government, in battle that the extended stay of the administrators in the metro was due to the Electoral Commission of South Africa, Rekord reported.
According to the Constitution, the administrators’ stay was not to exceed the period of 90 days, with both legal representatives was explaining that the five-month stay was due to the commission’s postponing the elections amid Covid-19 pandemic.
Both Gauteng government and DA’s legal representatives, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Steven Budlender dismissed claims the provincial government initiated the extended stay of the administrators.
Ngcukaitoibi argued on the reasons behind the dissolution of the metro’s council, saying it was the only method the government could have used to deal with the constantly collapse council meetings.
“There was no mayor, no mayoral committee, no city manager, no budget and the meetings entrusted to attend to these kept on collapsing, there was no other way to deal with this other than to dissolve the council.”
Ngcukaitobi also noted that the service delivery in Tshwane was crumbling as some areas such as Hammanskraal continued to experience water issues.
He told the ConCourt that the Gauteng government had “tried to implement softer methods when dealing with the matter before the dissolution”.
However, DA’s Budlender argued against Ngcukaitobi claims and said the provincial government used a “sledgehammer to crack a nut”.
Budlender said that the provincial government had never given a warning to the metro or considered any of the DA’s proposed solutions to the metro’s troubles.
The DA representative further said there was no procedural fairness in the implementation of the administration of Tshwane’s council.
Budlender also argued that it was drastic to dissolve the council while certain constitutional rights could have been implemented to deal with the matter.
Defending the high court’s decision regarding the ANC and EFF councillors at the council, which Ngcukaitobi said was a breach of the freedom of expression and right to protest, Budlender said the councillors were bound by the code of conduct they signed when accepting duties.
Meanwhile, the EFF representative advocate Ishmael Semenya argued that the provincial government did not need to give any warning as long as exceptional circumstances allowing the state to implement dissolution decision were there.
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