An attempt by the JB Marks Municipality – which covers Ventersdorp and Potchefstroom in the North West – to haul the provincial government to court in a bid to interdict the province from implementing a section 139(1)(b) notice on the troubled municipality, has been struck off the roll.
“The matter was struck off the roll due to lack of urgency and the implication is that the administrator will proceed with his work and the municipality, if [it] so wishes, will proceed with the review application,” North West cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Dineo Thapelo told News24 on Monday.
News24 has seen a document from a law firm in Randburg, Johannesburg – dated September 2, 2019 – that is addressed to the provincial government and others, which details the intention “to challenge the unlawful terms of reference”.
The five-page terms of reference challenged by the municipality – dated August 25, 2019 – was signed by North West Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Gordon Kegakilwe outlining the administrator’s mandate, his/her role in the municipality, the arrangement between the administrator and municipal officials, and the roles and responsibilities of experts and the intervention team, News24 reported.
One of the terms of reference included the administrator’s role of facilitating “the improvement of governance and administration within the municipality”.
The municipality has gone head-to-head with the North West government since May 2019 over the implementation of a section 139(1)(b) notice at the troubled municipality.
The local government has been a subject of controversy, rocked by a list of claims detailing alleged fraud, corruption and maladministration in a previously leaked document that News24 has seen.
The said document detailed alleged irregular expenditure in several projects, such as the Sarafina Stadium, the Appeldraai access road, the construction of roads, ghost payments, overtime payments, irregular appointments, as well as fraud and corruption, among others, as reasons why the provincial government should intervene and take over the running of the municipality, News24 earlier reported.
A letter seen by News24 from the office of the North West local government MEC to the JB Marks mayoral office, showed the initial decision was taken on May 2 and the mayor’s office was informed of the decision on May 6.
A long battle has ensued since then with little to no undertaking on a way forward from both parties.
The municipality, however, was of the view that the administrator had no duties to resume with at the municipal premises.
“The administrator is not yet on the premises of the municipality, there is a council resolution that has rejected the incumbent.
“The council is yet to pronounce a way forward,” spokesperson William Maphosa told News24 on Tuesday.
The municipality stated it was waiting to hear reasons for the order at the High Court in Mahikeng.
The merits of the case, however, are still to be argued and heard at a date to be made known in the future.