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Defective arrest warrant keeps Joburg City manager Brink in the pink amid water disconnection saga

Defective arrest warrant keeps Joburg City manager Brink in the pink amid water disconnection saga
City of Johannesburg municipal manager Floyd Brink. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sharon Seretlo)

The Sheriff of the Gauteng high court came knocking at City of Johannesburg municipal manager Floyd Brink’s home in Roodepoort to effect a 30-day warrant of arrest… but he remains free, for now. 

Johannesburg City manager Floyd Brink faces a 30-day imprisonment for being in contempt of court — this after the city failed to abide by a court order preventing it from disconnecting the water supply to a private property in the city.

The matter dates back to August 2023 and pertains to a billing issue experienced by a resident in Stafford that had taken the city to court after disconnection. Subsequently, the high court in Johannesburg ordered that the city should not disconnect the water supply to the applicant’s property pending the outcome of the application.

The city however did not abide with the order and as a result, was in contempt court.

On Wednesday morning the sheriff of the Johannesburg high court descended on Brink’s home in Roodepoort to effect a warrant of arrest dated 19 April 2024, which contains minor spelling errors.

“You are hereby directed to take C.D. of Floyd Blink [sic] in the province of Gauteng, if he be found within that province and deliver him to the keeper of the prison of the district in which he be found, together with a duly certified copy of this writ, there to be safely kept until the expiration of 30 days from the date upon which he shall have been detained in the said prison by virtue of this warrant, or until the said C.D. shall be otherwise legally discharged; and for your so doing this shall be your warrant,” read the papers.

Daily Maverick was reliably informed that the sheriff had not effected the warrant by 09:30 due to the fact that a meeting between court officials and Brink’s legal team had been taking place.

The office of the executive mayor of Johannesburg Kabelo Gwamanda has since confirmed that the warrant of arrest was found to be defective and erroneous and as such could not legally be executed.

In a statement, Gwamanda lamented the warrant which was executed on Brink’s private home instead of the city’s address in which Brink is employed — which he described as part of ongoing attacks against Brink.

“The city manager has been the target of incessant harassment by certain political actors utilising the courts to compromise and prevent him from exercising his duties.

“This attack on his person and character has now been orchestrated to embarrass and target him and his family and to create a public perception that the city manager is a suspect in a criminal matter,” he said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘We want water, we want service delivery’ — disgruntled Joburg residents take to the streets

Belinda Echeozonjoku, the Johannesburg DA caucus leader said it was concerning that residents have had to take to the courts to be able to get the city to do things properly.

This pointed to a total disregard for good governance, suggested Echeozonjoku.

“They speak about good governance and priorities, and then they do something differently. And when we hold the city to account, you know, we get accused of abusing court processes but I mean, obviously, as the DA we believe in the rule of law.

“If they just did things by the book, then no one will need to go to court to get the city to do its job,” Echeozonjoku added.

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.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Johannesburg’s deepening water crisis and why the chaos of alpha male politics is bad for your health

Water disconnection

Echeozonjoku said there had been a spate of complaints related to the disconnection, equally there have been reports of residents taking the city to court.

Just two days ago, News24 reported that the city had been interdicted from disconnecting a resident’s water and electricity after the resident had been trying for eight years to resolve her unreasonably high utility bills.

The woman reportedly paid R844,717.52 for utilities between January 2019 and August 2022: Seven years of billsh*t: Joburg resident takes City to court after ongoing billing chaos | News24

Gwamanda added that the city would endeavour to resolve any rates and utility account disputes in an amicable, transparent and cooperative manner with the affected clients to avoid protracted litigation.

“In this regard, we urge residents to always utilise the available dispute resolution mechanisms which have proved to be effective in assisting residents with billing queries and complaints,” Gwamanda said.

Brink is no stranger to controversy. His appointment to the top position was controversial from the start and his term has been marked by successive crises.

Ongoing controversy 

Brink ascended to the position during a chaotic council meeting in February 2023, despite 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.

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

In November 2023, a Gauteng high court in Johannesburg judgment found the processes leading to his appointment as city manager were invalid and unconstitutional and that he must be removed.  He was later reappointed back into the position.

Read more in Daily Maverick: City of Joburg flouts high court ruling and reappoints city manager Floyd Brink

AmaBhungane has reported that Brink was a controversial figure in the metro because of his alleged historical 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 corruption investigation that implicated officials and businesspeople.

The same investigation netted 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


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • J vN says:

    What a pity. Seeing a cadre like Brink in jail, would have brightened up SA’s dire news considerably. If only we had a society in which justice was fairly meted out and offenders prosecuted in spite of their political connections. The entire ANC and EFF crime families would be in orange overalls in such a society. But, hey, you can’t have such a society with SA’s dismal voter quality…

  • Con Tester says:

    These are your tax rands in action: Funding the protection of feckless dunces, apathetic public servants, and politically-connected crooks alike.

  • Grumpy Old Man says:

    You tell em Mr Mayor.
    This issue is all about your City Manager and the unfair, malicous treatment meted out to him. It is not about the ungrateful, uppity ratepayer who doesn’t recognize great service when they receive it and fail to appreciate the world class city they live in.
    The icing on the cake, is that these same uppity ratepayers want to question why you all need more personal protection. I would have thought it was obvious; to protect you all from these same uppity ratepayers and people looking to serve warrants of arrest on you! Duh!
    You Mr Mayor are a credit to our wonderful city – to the 553 people who voted for your party – to Panyaza Lesufi, Julius and Gayton who deployed you. You Sir are the epitome of the will of the people

  • Wendy Dewberry says:

    Blink to be free 🙂

  • Walter Spatula says:

    The big oinks think they get to choose where to be arrested.

  • Peter Merrington says:

    Poor Johannesburg. Politics is at root about clean admin and good maintenance of public utilities. Much of the rest of it is doctrinaire tub-thumping. I’m not smug but I’m very glad to dwell in the Cape Peninsula with excellent DA-administered admin, billing, and maintenance. My domestic rates bill is stiff but I’m glad to pay it for the service that we get. What else is there once the tumult and the shouting dies?

  • Indeed Jhb says:

    Blink and be flee! Like flied lice (all credits to Lethal Weapon movies)
    It is understandable that with such arrogance at the top “Customer Services”, is the not even on the radar. More protection for the incompetents! Those people who pay our salaries are the enemy of the City!

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