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MAFUBE CASE: Judgment reserved in case against premier and others

Issued by Morné Mostert, Manager: Local Government Affairs, AfriForum, 25 May 2023

The High Court in Bloemfontein today reserved judgment in AfriForum and the Mafube Business Forum’s case against the Premier of the Free State and 12 other respondents. These organisations approached the court because they are of the opinion that the Premier is in contempt of a previous court order.

This follows after the same court ruled in April 2022 that the premier is obliged to not only place the Mafube Local Municipality under forced administration, but to also urgently implement a financial recovery plan. The court furthermore ordered that immediate intervention must take place at the sewage infrastructure to stop the pollution of the Vaal and Wilge rivers. AfriForum and the Mafube Business Forum are unhappy with the premier’s lack of action since the court order.

“Our community is totally fed up with the poor service delivery and the dire living conditions caused by the incompetence of the Mafube Municipality. We are also concerned about the lack of intervention that has taken place from the provincial government to date. It has been more than a year since the ruling that requires provincial intervention to ensure service delivery,” says Jannie Schabort, Chairperson of the Mafube Business Forum.

According to Morné Mostert, AfriForum’s Manager for Local Government Affairs, the Constitution does not provide for incompetence. “The core of this court case is not only that the municipality does not fulfil its duties. The provincial government, which must exercise oversight over the municipalities, is not competent to rectify the situation. If courts are serious about the realization of constitutional rights, it can unfortunately no longer be left in the hands of the state. This has been proven repeatedly,” says Mostert.

AfriForum on 25 May asked the court for the following order:

That the Premier of the Free State be found guilty of contempt of court.

The Premier must take effective action to comply with the court order of 2022.

Emergency plans must be put in place immediately to stop the pollution of the Vaal and Wilge rivers.

The Premier must provide feedback to the court on the progress of the intervention.

Add your voice to the charge and support the court application by signing the petition and thus giving AfriForum your mandate to hold the Mafube Municipality accountable for poor service delivery.

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