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MUNICIPAL DYSFUNCTION

DA to lodge yet another court challenge against Joburg city manager Floyd Brink

DA to lodge yet another court challenge against Joburg city manager Floyd Brink
Illustrative image, from left: Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda; Johannesburg city manager Floyd Brink. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

The DA in the City of Johannesburg will lodge another court challenge against Floyd Brink’s reappointment as city manager after its application against him was struck off the roll due to a lack of urgency.

The future of Johannesburg’s city manager, Floyd Brink, hangs in the balance amid a fresh court bid to have him removed from the position to which he was reappointed in November.

The DA, which is the leading opposition party in Johannesburg, is again preparing to file papers in the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Johannesburg to have Brink’s reappointment declared unlawful and unconstitutional.

“We believe that we have a strong case,” DA caucus leader Belinda Echeozonjoku said.

This comes after the party failed in its urgent bid to nullify the appointment and have Executive Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda and Speaker Margaret Arnolds found in contempt of court.

On 9 February, the court dismissed the application on the basis that it lacked urgency and struck it off the roll.  

Judge Motsamai Makume said, “I have accordingly come to the conclusion that this matter is not urgent and should be struck off the roll. In any case, the contempt application, according to the applicant, does not have to be decided in the urgent court. In my view, both the enforcement and the contempt applications should be heard in one sitting in the ordinary motion court hearing.”  

Responding to the judgment, Echeozonjoku said, “We note the judgment because we believe in the independence of the judiciary. I want to reiterate that the case was struck off the roll based on urgency.

“There was no determination on the merits of the case. Our city is collapsing and it’s unfortunate that it’s the residents of the City of Joburg that bear the brunt of the failure that is currently happening under this administration with Mr Brink at the helm,” Echeozonjoku said.

Gwamanda slammed the DA over what he said were efforts to undermine the progress made in stabilising the city.

“We note the judgment of the court and take it as a reminder to the DA and all agents of regress that the Government of Local Unity (GLU) is a service-delivery-focused and prudent government. 

“Our interests have always been and steadfastly remain those of stabilising the city’s administration and guaranteeing equitable service delivery to residents,” Gwamanda said.    

‘Controversial appointment’

The DA has a history of challenging Brink’s appointment as city manager.

In November, the party emerged victorious when the high court in Johannesburg ruled that the appointment was unlawful, and ordered that it be reversed and Brink be replaced within 10 days.

The major bone of contention was around due process, which the DA argued was not followed.

Read more in Daily Maverick: High court finds Floyd Brink’s appointment as Joburg city manager ‘unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid’ 

Days after this judgment, the city held a council meeting at which it opted to retable a previously adopted report by the ANC/EFF/PA alliance, (the GLU), which saw Brink reappointed to the position. The DA voted against the motion, but was defeated as it did not have the necessary majority. 

How did it all start?  

Brink ascended to the powerful position during a chaotic council meeting in February 2023, with the support of the ANC and EFF-led multiparty government.

This was despite Brink having been censured in a forensic investigation commissioned by the city’s Group Forensics and Investigation Services (GFIS) into the Department of Public Safety’s procurement of handheld devices and CCTV equipment.

The report, produced by the law firm ENS for the GFIS, noted that Brink had acted in a manner that “appears to constitute a dereliction of duty” and “gross misconduct”, and recommended that he be reported to the council for further investigation and disciplinary action.

Crisis management

The city is in crisis, with electricity and water cuts now common enough to no longer make headlines. The city has conceded it has experienced a revenue collection crisis, mostly coming from the sale of water and electricity to residents.

Brink has had his hands full since the start of his tenure in February 2023, dealing with several crises, on top of the city’s service delivery challenges.

In July 2023, one person was killed and several others injured after a gas explosion in the Johannesburg CBD.

In August, at least 77 people were killed and 50 injured in a raging fire in a hijacked five-storey building in Marshalltown, Johannesburg.

In September 2023, a fire caused by faulty transformers at the Joburg Metro Centre shut down the building responsible for administering the city. Following this, a bid evaluation committee sought Brink’s approval for a R2-billion refurbishment of the building. 

AmaBhungane has reported that Brink is a controversial figure in the metro because of his alleged links to Julius Malema and the EFF. In April 2013, while a manager at the Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport, Brink was arrested as part of a sweeping investigation into corruption that implicated officials and businesspeople. 

The same investigation implicated Malema, in addition to several associates of the then ANC Youth League leader, including his cousin Tshepo Malema. Brink was tried and acquitted in 2013. The other cases went nowhere. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Keith Peacock says:

    Just a reminder, Brink was first appointed COO in the CoJ, when Mashaba was DA Mayor. It was a time when the EFF had an informal agreement to keep Mashaba in power. Of course that Brink is a long time buddy of Malema, going back to corruption in Limpopo, couldn’t possibly have anything to do with Brink’s appointment; could it?

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