GROUNDUP

Court orders dissolution of Makana municipality

By Lucas Nowicki 14 January 2020

Other issues highlighted in the court papers included the municipality’s inability to maintain road infrastructure, failure to regulate livestock in town and allowing firefighting equipment to fall into disrepair, and not restocking. (Archive photo)

The Makhanda High Court has ruled that the provincial government must place the Makana Municipality under administration.

First published by GroundUp

The Makhanda High Court on Tuesday morning ordered the Makana Municipality to be dissolved and placed under administration for violating its constitutional mandate by failing to provide basic services to the community.

The application was brought in February 2019 by the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) and other civil society organisations against the municipality, which was the first respondent, and several others. The applicants were represented by Wheeldon, Rushmere & Cole. The case was heard in September 2019. Makana includes Makhanda, formerly Grahamstown.

The order has to be carried out by the provincial executive of the Eastern Cape, one of the respondents in the case.

Judge Igna Stretch wrote that the municipality’s conduct has been “inconsistent with the 1996 constitution of the Republic of South Africa”, breaching section 152 (1) and section 153 (a) by “failing to promote a healthy and sustainable environment for the community”.

An administrator will be appointed until elections for a new Municipal Council, as stipulated in section 139 (1) of the Constitution. The provincial executive has to implement a recovery plan to guarantee the municipality meets its constitutional obligations.

The application accused Makana Municipality of corruption, failure to provide water and sewerage services, and serious neglect of municipal infrastructure, leaving roads filled with potholes and garbage.

In a statement released after the judgment, UPM chairperson Ayanda Kota said that “democracy has been served”. DM

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