DA bid to have eThekwini budget meeting held again halted as court rules matter is not urgent
An urgent high court bid by the DA in Durban for Ethekwini municipality's 2020/2021 budget hearing to be re-held, was struck from the roll on Thursday.
Durban high court Judge Jacqui Henriques ruled that the matter was not “urgent”, effectively putting paid to the application because the budget will be implemented on July 1.
The party wanted another “virtual meeting” to be held before then, claiming that the budget approval had been unlawful because its caucus leader Nicole Graham had been “silenced” through continuous muting while she attempted to give her presentation.
The city opposed the application.
Speaker Weziwe Thusi said she was investigating who was behind the muting, but said Graham had chosen to leave the meeting when she could have spoken later, once the problem had been identified and rectified.
The matter was initially set down for June 17, but could not be heard because the court was closed for cleaning after an employee tested positive for Covid-19.
In a statement, the DA said it was “deeply concerned” about the progress of the litigation and had at all times dealt with it with utmost urgency.
“It is bizarre that judge Henriques would set the matter down, ask the legal teams involved to be present to present their matters and then instantly dismiss the matter from court on the basis that she doesn’t believe it is urgent.
“This argument was not presented by the municipality’s legal team either but was the insistent view of the judge,” it said.
“Our legal team engaged with judicial leadership at the court but have only been granted a date in September for the matter to be heard.
“This effectively removed one of the remedies sought — that the budget meeting be re-held.
“Regardless of this frustrating setback, we will proceed with the second part of our application and continue to seek a declaration that the (budget) meeting held on 29 May was unlawful.”