Oudtshoorn: Councillors will be liable for legal costs
The Western Cape Government will not tolerate the continued efforts by some councillors in Oudtshoorn who seem determined to frustrate the efforts being undertaken to turn the town around.
Alan Winde, the Acting Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape confirmed that the province stepped in and placed the council under administration in terms of section 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution. This action was taken on 31 July with the full support of the National Government, based on concerns over the management of the town.
“Premier Helen Zille and the provincial minister for local government, Anton Bredell, in consultation with Minister Pravin Gordhan, appointed Mr Kam Chetty as Administrator in Oudtshoorn. Mr Chetty today continues to have the full support of both provincial and national government.”
Minister Winde said continued efforts from some councillors in the town have hampered the intervention in Oudtshoorn to such an extent that the terms of the administration have had to be amended.
“Currently, all executive powers and accounting officer responsibilities vest in the Administrator and no longer in the council. The council does not have a mayor or a speaker. Additionally the responsibility for the financial and legal departments has been withdrawn from the council and resides in the Administrator.”
Following the amended terms of the intervention, initial resistance has been experienced and some councillors continue to refuse to vacate their offices. There have also been threats of legal action against the intervention.
“These councillors are not legitimate and have no authority. Accordingly, the Administrator has already instructed the responsible officials to lock up the council chambers until further notice. Any councillors still contemplating legal or any other action against the ongoing intervention will be personally liable for any financial implications and costs. The burden of their actions cannot fall to the ratepayers of the town, which is already facing financial pressure,” said Winde.
By law, the power to institute or defend any legal proceedings on behalf of the municipality vests in the Administrator alone.
“The Western Cape Government again calls on public representatives in Oudtshoorn to respect the rule of law and to cooperate and support the current intervention in Oudtshoorn.
“Councillors serve at the behest of their communities and not themselves,” said Winde.
Spokesperson for Alan Winde, Acting Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301
Spokesperson for the Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell
Mobile: 084 583 1670
Telephone: 021 483 2820