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A LANDMARK JUDGEMENT?

On 13 December 2023, Judge Pitso Molitsoane, in the Bloemfontein High Court, delivered a far-reaching judgement in the case between Woodland Hills Wildlife Home-owners Association and the Mangaung (Bloemfontein) municipality. The case was also opposed by the Free State Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs as the Second Respondent. Woodlands as the Applicant won their case with costs; the following important aspects highlighted by the judge:


 “…the Applicant submits that it is trite that the provision of refuse removal services is a municipal executive and legislative competency and a service which municipalities usually render but stresses that it is not a right...”


“If one were to accept that the obligation to render refuse removal services is an executive and legislative competency of a municipality and not a right of the municipality, together with what I say later in this judgment, it is difficult to accept the submission by the First Respondent that it has the exclusive authority to remove the refuse within the township of Woodlands.”


“Reference to Rademan vs Moqhaka (Kroonstad) Local Municipality is appropriate.”

Constitutional Court Judge Raymond Zondo in that case, said the following:

“Where a municipality claims payment from a resident or ratepayer for services, it is only entitled to payment of services that it has rendered. By the same token, where a municipality claims from a resident, customer or rate payer payment for services, the resident, customer or ratepayer is only obliged to pay the municipality for services that have been rendered. There is no obligation on a resident, customer or ratepayer to pay the municipality for a service that has not been rendered.”


In summary:

  • Refuse removal is a function of municipalities, but it is not their exclusive right.

  • Where a municipality, as in the case of Mafube, fails to provide a service (such as for refuse removal), it cannot claim payment for that service. The judgement of Judge Zondo in the Rademan case clearly states that the residents do not have to pay for a service that was not provided to them. Mafube Business Forum’s (MBF) are particularly pleased that this is now recognised by the High Court and vindicates our argument as stated in our “Guide to Declaring a Dispute”.

  • This ruling of Judge Molitsoane therefore recognises the right of residents, business owners and ratepayers to choose their own service providers. It is the view of MBF, that this judgement as it pertains to local government and service delivery, is a small, albeit significant victory for communities. It now paves the way for privatisation of services.

  • The full judgement and MBF’s Guide to Declaring a Dispute can be downloaded from MBF’s website.

Photo: Regter Pitso Molitsoane


MBF invite residents, business owners and ratepayers to visit our offices at 18A Kerk Street, Frankfort on Mondays to Thursdays from 08h30 to 16h00 and Fridays 08h30 to 12h00. Call or send a WhatsApp message to Marina at 079 145 4295. Visit our website www.mafubebf.org and follow us on Facebook.



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