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AfriForum to drag Ramaphosa to court over poor services in the Free State

26 January 2022 - 15:44
AfriForum's court case promises to establish important legal principles that will give communities the right to manage municipal services where these services have collapsed. File image.
AfriForum's court case promises to establish important legal principles that will give communities the right to manage municipal services where these services have collapsed. File image.
Image: Thulani Mbele

AfriForum has announced plans to drag President Cyril Ramaphosa to court over the lack of service delivery in the Free State's Mafube local municipality.

The civil rights organisation and the Mafube Business Forum announced at a media conference on Wednesday that they were going to challenge Ramaphosa and 16 other respondents in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein on Thursday.

“Despite Frankfort being the hometown of Sisi Ntombela, premier of the Free State, residents of this former upscale town receive no municipal services. The municipality is officially bankrupt ... regular water shortages, no refuse removal, a dysfunctional sewage system and potholes are but a few of the problems that all residents have to deal with.

“Moreover, the municipality has not sent any municipal accounts for various years now,” said Jacques Jansen van Vuuren, spokesperson for the Mafube Business Forum.

The forum is bringing the application on behalf of the residents of Frankfort.

The court case promises to establish important legal principles that will give communities the right to manage municipal services where these services have collapsed completely. 

According to Van Vuuren, the organisation seeks comprehensive legal advice.

“Among others, we are seeking an order that would give us the right to manage a variety of municipal services for a limited period until national government intervenes to restore services,” Van Vuuren said.

“The rendering of these management services will be funded from the fiscus. We hope for a favourable court ruling after a drawn-out fight over many years with the municipality to render basic services. The community is tired of empty promises and corruption.”

Morné Mostert, manager of local government affairs at AfriForum, said that though local governments were autonomous, there was still a supervision authority within the constitution for the provincial government to ensure that these services are rendered.

“In this case, the provincial government was informed of the municipality’s problems but failed to intervene. This is why this obligation to ensure services lies with national government. The department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs and eventually the president must intervene if the state does not comply with constitutional criteria,” Mostert said.

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