Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Decision to place City of Tshwane under administration unlawful, ConCourt rules

The Gauteng provincial government and cooperative governance MEC Lebogang Maile's decision was unwarranted, says the apex court.

The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Monday ruled that the Gauteng provincial government’s decision to place the City of Tshwane under administration last year was unlawful.

The provincial government placed the metro under administration on 4 March after the city’s council failed to hold a series of meetings following the collapse of the coalition between the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Tshwane.

In its majority judgment, the ConCourt said the dissolution decision by Gauteng Cooperative governance MEC Lebogang Maile was unwarranted.

This is not the DA’s first court win regarding the City of Tshwane. In April 2020, the Pretoria High Court ruled in favour of the party and set aside the decision to place the council under administration with costs.

The court had also compelled EFF and ANC councillors to attend council meetings after walking out during several meetings.

At the time, Gauteng Judge President Dunstan Mlambo said the interference from one sphere of government into another sphere, as demonstrated by the Gauteng government, was “most intrusive” and could only be resorted to in exceptional circumstances.

“The decision of the Gauteng executive council to dissolve the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, taken on March 4 and communicated to the applicants on March 10, is reviewed, declared invalid and set aside,” Mlambo said.

In October 2020, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had also ruled in the DA’s favour and confirmed the Pretoria High Court’s ruling.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura, the EFF and the ANC each brought separate applications to the ConCourt challenging the order and judgment of the high court.

The DA opposed the premier and the EFF’s applications after they argued the high court had failed to apply the rationality test correctly when coming to its decision that the provincial government did not substantively comply with Section 139(1)(c) of the Constitution in dissolving the Tshwane council.

The ANC did not make representations before the ConCourt and said it would abide by the apex court’s decision.