Provincial government must place municipality under administration: Members of the Unemployed People’s Movement protest outside the High Court in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) in September. Archive photo: Lucas Nowicki
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 by the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) and other civil society organisations against the municipality, which was the first respondent, and several others in February 2019. The applicants were represented by Wheeldon, Rushmere & Cole. The case was heard in September. 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”.
The full record of the judgment is available on the following link http://copsam.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/UPM-vs-Premier-16-Others-Judgement-14.01.2020.pdf