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High court bid to overturn dissolving of NC municipality

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A former Renosterberg councillor said that the intervention was illegal because the MEC of Coghsta had failed to adhere to prescribed timelines.

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AN URGENT application has been filed in the Northern Cape High Court to have the dissolution of the Renosterberg Town Council reversed.

The application was filed by Matt Posthumus, a former councillor, who said on Tuesday that the intervention was illegal because the MEC of Coghsta (Cooperative Governance, Human Settlement and Traditional Affairs) had failed to adhere to prescribed timelines, while he had also “flatly ignored a formal dispute demanding his attention”.

“In addition to the faulty and illegal intervention, the administrator is failing to meet the first payroll on his watch,” Posthumus said.

Posthumus also stated that a mere two weeks after the disputed intervention by Coghsta MEC Bentley Vass the Renosterberg Municipality might not be able to meet its payroll.

“Given the severe interruption by Vass, the mysterious continued absence of the administrator, Themba Loko, and the closure of the municipal offices for days until last week, insufficient debtor management has caused a crippling reduction in cash flow. There is no evidence that Loko even noted this threat, and it is certain that he did nothing to address the dwindling cash reserves,” he added.

He stated further that community leaders had acted over the weekend when the ratepayers association asked their members to make payments on their municipal accounts without delay. “Similarly, community leaders in Philipstown, Petrusville, and Keurtjieskloof are asking people to pay as soon as possible.

“The municipality paid its Eskom account on 7 September, without prompting by the administrator. The community is attempting to remedy the cash flow problem, without prompting by the administrator,” he said.

Posthumus stated that it was clear that the intervention by Vass was “causing more problems than it arrogated to solve”.

“I trust that the high court will restore council and return the running of the municipality to duly elected representatives.”

Northern Cape Premier, Dr Zamani Saul, announced at a press conference two weeks ago that the Renosterberg Local Municipality had been placed under administration until the election of a new municipal council.

Saul said at the time that the provincial government was “determined to improve the lives of the people by taking bold yet informed steps and creating conducive conditions for our people to not only prosper but to be their own champions as we build a prosperous society”.

“The people of Renosterberg deserve much better and we dare not fail in according them their constitutional rights,” Saul said.

The Premier pointed out that over the past years, the Renosterberg Local Municipality had been plagued with political and administrative challenges and had failed to fulfil the prescripts of Chapter 7 as enshrined in Section 152 of the Constitution, adding that intervention efforts by Coghsta, the Provincial Treasury and the Pixley ka Seme District Municipality as well as the respective MECs to monitor and provide support to Renosterberg Local Municipality had not borne much fruit.