Minister Anton Bredell Welcomes Oudtshoorn Judgement
Anton Bredell, the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, welcomes the judgment delivered by the Western Cape High Court this morning.
Judge Rodgers confirmed that in terms of the Constitutional framework of government, only Minister Bredell in his capacity as Minister of Local Government, has the power to remove councillors.
The Minister notes that the court found that none of the councilors that the Oudsthoorn council purported to unilaterally remove have in fact been removed validly, that their removal has been set aside and that the council was ordered to pay costs. This means the councillors have at all times remained members of the council. South Africa is still a young democracy where good governance in all institutions of government is becoming increasingly important.
Adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law is non-negotiable for Minister Bredell. In so far as all municipalities have rights and obligations in the administration of their own affairs, they too need to respect and apply the law and Minister Bredell trusts that the Oudsthoorn council will now respect and apply this judgment without wasting any more taxpayers' money on litigation in this or similar vein. Having recently lost its appeal to the Constitutional Court on a similar matter, the legal bill for both the Speaker and the council of Oudtshoorn is now becoming a serious concern. “It is time that democracy starts winning in Oudtshoorn.
I expect that the minority coalition in Oudtshoorn will this time abide by and respect the decision of the high court. In my view it's now time that the council concentrates its energy on upholding democracy and the will of the residents of Oudsthoorn whom they have been elected to serve”, said Minister Bredell.
Minister Bredell also notes the court’s comments to councillors in general about raising “meritless claims” at municipal expense and reminding councils that they “exist for the community not the other way round”.