- The City of Tshwane was expected to hold its first council meeting in almost eight months following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
- The court upheld a judgment by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria which overturned the Gauteng Executive Council’s decision to dissolve council.
- Tshwane councillors were reinstated and the first order of business was to elect a new mayor, the Tshwane speaker said on Wednesday.
The City of Tshwane was expected to hold its first council meeting in almost eight months, with only one item on the agenda: elect a mayor.
This was according to Tshwane speaker Katlego Mathebe who resumed her duties on Tuesday following an intense legal battle that was borne out of the Gauteng Executive Council’s decision to dissolve council in March.
The decision saw the City of Tshwane remain leaderless politically for most of the year as the provincial government appointed administrators to run the capital city as legal battles ensued.
Mathebe, along with the rest of the council, would return to duty and receive backdated pay following a judgment handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).
The appellate court dismissed the province’s appeal which sought to delay the enforcement of the Gauteng High Court ruling which reversed the decision to dissolve council.
READ | SCA rules in DA’s favour, dismisses Gauteng govt decision to dissolve Tshwane council
“My return to office and the decision to hold a council meeting on Friday are in line with the judgment handed down by the Supreme Court of Appeal,” Mathebe said.
“The implication of yesterday’s ruling is that the Section 139(c) administration of the City has been overturned and all councillors in Tshwane have been reinstated.”
The speaker announced that a special sitting of council would be convened on Friday to elect a new mayor as Tshwane was without a political head after DA member Stevens Mokgalapa resigned in February this year amid an alleged sex scandal.
“The people of Tshwane have been without a democratically elected government since March this year and yesterday’s Supreme Court of Appeal judgment was vital for the restoration of democratic governance in the City,” Mathebe said.
READ | Gauteng govt approaches ConCourt to challenge finding that dissolution of Tshwane council was unlawful
“It is now our main priority to restore stability in the City and ensure that our residence receive the service delivery they so rightfully deserve and to boost staff morale which is currently at an all-time low.”
Mathebe also told journalists on Wednesday that the chief whips of the respective parties agreed that their councillors would be in attendance at the special meeting on Friday and that a meeting had already been held to iron out any issues.
Before the dissolution of council, several meetings were marred by political differences and other issues that saw mass walkouts and meetings ending without any decisions being taken, including the election of a new mayor.
READ | DA wins court challenge against Gauteng govt over dissolution of Tshwane council
The breakdown in these council meetings was one of the reasons that led to the council being dissolved.
Mathebe was of the view that council would run smoothly and that because of the High Court ruling, councillors would be forced by a mandamus to attend proceedings, participate and not be allowed to leave before the business before the council had been completed.
It remained to be seen if the ANC, the official opposition in the City, would abide by the decision and if the EFF, originally in a coalition with the DA, would still support the party in blue as relations have deteriorated significantly since the 2016 local government elections.