Judge doesn't see urgency in six EFF councillors' case
The urgent application brought by six disgruntled Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) councillors in Mogale City municipality has been struck off the court roll.
The councillors will still pursue to be reinstated into their positions after the Judge Denise Fisher ruled that the matter was not urgent.
This follows the application being filed to the South Gauteng High Court on Wednesday by the councillors to prevent the Independent Electoral Commission from removing their names from the municipal voters roll as instructed by the municipality.
The court case was against the IEC‚ Mogale City municipality and the EFF.
"In this matter of Mkhumbeni and others‚ and the IEC and others‚ the applicants that brought this application as a matter of urgency and have given less than 24 hours' notice of the hearing of the matter‚ there is no case for urgency laid out in the matter and therefore the application is struck off the roll and the applicants are ordered to pay the costs jointly‚" added Judge Fisher.
Advocate Rodney Manzini of Mkhize Attorneys‚ representing the councillors‚ tried to convince Judge Fisher that the matter was indeed urgent and alluded that there are financial implications for the councillors if they are removed.
"Once the names of the six councillors are removed by the IEC‚ they will have to vacate the office and the reason why this matter came to you as urgent‚ is that the review appeal application can only be heard in 2019 when the National Assembly meets after every five years‚" argued advocate Manzini.
"In the meantime they will be removed from office and the lack of efficiency of this appeal review process within the organisation itself is what causes financial prejudice that's going to be suffered by the applicants. The [EFF] has requested the municipality to remove the names of the councillors and replace them immediately without the internal processes being [exhausted]‚" argued Manzini.
However‚ Judge Fisher was having none of it and said their application was not at all urgent as they can still be reinstated and also recover any financial losses during their expulsion.
"You've come as a matter of dire urgency on the basis that you suggest some kind of financial harm. I suggest that that can be dealt with in a normal court. The only contention that I understand is relating to urgency relates to the fact that once the new councillors are put in place‚ there can’t be unseated… that seems to be the contention‚" said Judge Fisher.
She argued that if new councillors are sworn in‚ they can still be unseated before 2019.
The application was brought by EFF's chief whip in the municipality Smanga Mkhumbeni along with Eric Baloyi‚ Nomonde Nkatu‚ Nhlanhla Shilubane‚ Lebogang Modisane and Eddie Motsisi after they were "expelled" by the red berets' central command team‚ after they allegedly voted with the governing ANC for the municipality’s budget on July 11.
The EFF said the six had defied the organisation by their vote‚ a claim that Mkhumbeni has unreservedly denied. Another application will be filed later today and a court date will be announced thereafter. According to advocate Manzini‚ the legal costs are around R50,000.