While the DA celebrates its latest court victory and plans for the resumption of the Tshwane council, the Gauteng government has expressed unhappiness with the High Court ruling and set its sights on yet another appeal.
The provincial government has lodged an urgent appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal in terms of Section 18(4) of the Superior Courts Act, which grants an automatic right of appeal to a higher court.
A full Bench of the High Court granted the DA an order to have a previous court ruling, setting aside the dissolution of the Tshwane city council, implemented.
The DA’s mayoral candidate for Tshwane, Randall Williams, told journalists at a media briefing after the judgment, which was delivered electronically, that winning the case was a major victory.
“[Today’s] judgment preserves the constitutional requirement that municipalities should be run by representatives of the people without fear of bullying or interference by any provincial government,” said Williams.
He added that reinstated councillors would immediately start planning the logistics around holding a council sitting on Friday, where a mayor is expected to be elected.
This will be the third mayor for the embattled capital city since the 2016 local government polls, while the legal wrangling for control of Tshwane might end up in the Constitutional Court.
The Gauteng executive and the EFF have both applied for direct access to the apex court over the matter.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Lebogang Maile indicated that now is not the time to throw in the towel.
“We have carefully considered [today’s] judgment and its implications on Tshwane, in relation to the restoration of clean governance, quality service delivery and sound management of public funds. After consulting with our legal counsel, we have decided to appeal [today’s] judgment as we are of the respectful view that the court has erred,” he said in a statement.
Maile said the Gauteng executive believed another court would reach a different view.
He also said the administrators, who the DA claims now have to stop working in the city and need to leave urgently, would continue in that role.
“Whilst this appeal process unfolds, the administrator and the team of experts will continue with the running of the affairs of the City of Tshwane, until the appeal process is finalised,” said Maile.
Earlier, the DA’s Gauteng chairperson Mike Moriarty slammed the ANC over its “manufactured outrage” regarding a WhatsApp the DA’s Tshwane council chair of chairs sent to councillors.
Gert Pretorius had urged councillors to start preparing as a judgment was expected “very soon”.
The tiff resulted in the state attorney threatening to lodge a complaint against the party and the ANC in Tshwane, accusing the DA of interfering with the judicial process.
Moriarty said Pretorius did not indicate when there would be a judgment or which way it would go.
He said the judges gave an indication that they understood the matter was urgent and would give judgment quickly.
“For the ANC to take that and turn it into something else, and impugn the integrity of the judicial system is extraordinary,” said Moriarty.
He questioned the actions of the state attorney in this regard.
“The state attorney tried to put a dog whistle, if you like, signal to the registrar of the court to get this message through, so they can influence through, in other words, influence the judges. When we replied, we went exactly down the same road, so that we can cover that legal base and that avenue,” said Moriarty.