Following the North Gauteng High Court decision yesterday to dismiss African National Congress’s application to declare unlawful a council meeting in Tlokwe Municipality which resolved to elect Democratic Alliance’s Annette Combrink as a mayor, I commended the provincial government decision to respect the court ruling.
In a tweet yesterday commending the ruling party, I said: “I applaud and commend the ANC North West for respecting the decision of the North Gauteng High Court on the Tlokwe debacle. Thank you”. Maybe that came out very soon. This tweet led to DA’s ChrisHattinghDA asking whether it had to take a high court judgement to “force #ANC to respect a democratic election” – something he found not applaudable.
Of course I tried to explain this only referred to the ANC “challenging of the outcome of the meeting which made everything after it wrong” and that while this may be “shocking [but] they were still within their constitutional rights and still are to do do (sic). And even at appealing.” Which it what it now intends doing, according to media reports today.
In his statement following the court ruling, ANC North West spokesperson, Kenny Morolong, said the ruling party “respects the judgment ….. which sets aside the application to rescind the decision taken by an irregular council meeting convened by opposition parties collaborating with expelled ANC councillors in Tlokwe.” He said the ruling was proof that ours is a judiciary system whose “ability [is] … to dispense justice without fear or favour.”
It is however quite sad to learn through other media reports that ANC’s now ousted Tlokwe mayor, Maphetle Maphetle, will not be vacating his mayoral office as ordered by the North Gauteng High Court yesterday. Instead, he will remain in that office pending the outcome of his appeal, said Morolong. According to the Times Online Maphetle and the council speaker, Barei Segotso, have decided to appeal the ruling and the party supports them. Which of course there’s nothing wrong with.
It still remains unclear whether their action (failure to abide by the Court ruling, and thereby vacating their offices) is as illegal as DA’s provincial spokesperson, Tiaan Kotze, claims it is. And while this sends a message that ANC only respects court rulings favour it, it is however my informed opinion that until such time all legal avenues through the courts have been exhausted – however long it takes – the ruling party is still within not to vacate the Tlokwe mayoral offices until then…