Eskom, water boards and other important service providers are not getting paid by the Ditsobotla and Naledi municipalities in North West – notwithstanding the fact that end users of services pay for services every month. Municipal collections from end users repeatedly disappear into a bottomless pit of corruption and escalating wage bills.
In this matter, therefore, Sakeliga is requesting the court that, pending the proper implementation of a financial recovery plan in terms of an intervention by the National Treasury, an independent auditing firm be appointed as so-called “special master” in respect of the key financial matters of the decayed respondent municipalities. The duties of the special master would be to manage a ring-fenced municipal bank account, to receive into this account all collections and levies for critical services such as water, electricity and upgrading of critical infrastructure, and to pay suppliers drectly from such account.
This is unique and innovative legal strategy that could create a favourable precedent for other municipalities.
Case commenced: 9 April 2021
Court: High Court: Mahikeng
Next court date:
Unknown at this stage.
|23 March 2023
|The case is heard in the High Court in Mahikeng. Due to an affidavit filed a day before the hearing by the Minister of Finance (almost two years late), and the court’s prioritization of other cases, the case is postponed.
|17 November 2022
|The interlocutary application in the case (refer to 23 November 2021 on the timeline) is heard. The judge rules that Eskom’s explanatory affidavit will be permitted during the main hearing in March, 2023.
|7 September 2022
|A case management meeting will take place on 7 September 2022 before the Judge-President of the court. The Judge-President is considering the court papers and a special allocation date.
|16 August 2022
|Naledi Local Municipality’s legal team indicates that, after a discussion with Eskom, they do not intend to proceed with their interlocutory application (on the court roll for 17 November 2022) for the scrapping of Eskom’s supporting affidavit. Sakeliga objects to the manner in which Naledi approaches the issue, as Naledi is supposed to file a formal notice of withdrawal in terms of the court rules, and also tender the wasted costs occasioned by their application. It seems that Naledi wants to reserve the right to raise the interlocutory issue during the main application, which step would lead to a postponement of the case.
|15 June 2022
|Sakeliga’s legal team again applies to the Judge President of the court for a special allocation of the case, in light of the request that was already submitted on 14 December 2021. Naledi Local Municipality’s interlocutory court application in the case (refer to 23 November 2021 on the timeline) is also allocated on the roll for 17 November 2022.
|6 Junie 2022
|In response to the Minister of Finance’s invitation to "engage in conversation" about Sakeliga’s municipal litigation, Sakeliga writes to the Minister of Finance’s office and indicates willingness to engage in conversation.
|14 December 2021
|Sakeliga writes a letter asking the Judge President of the High Court in Mahikeng for case management as the respondents do not cooperate and disregard the court rules.
|9 December 2021
|The court rules with costs in Sakeliga’s favor in its interlocutory application of 19 November. The respondents are required to deliver outstanding records.
|23 November 2021
|Naledi Local Municipality institutes an interlocutory application with the view to having Eskom’s explanatory affidavit striked out. Their objection to Eskom’s statement is based on an argument that Eskom as respondent offers support to Sakeliga as applicant.
|19 November 2021
|Sakeliga institutes an interlocutory application (an application within an application) against the first to third and seventh respondents, to compel these respondents to provide their records to which they refer in responding affidavits as required by the court rules.
|2 November 2021
|The respondents, with the exception of respondents 1 to 3, only partially complied with Sakeliga’s record requests on 2 November 2021. Sakeliga is only now able to prepare replying affidavits and take the matter further. Respondents 1 to 3 are at this stage yet to provide their records to which they refer in their answering affidavits.
|9 September 2021
|6th Respondent files answering affidavit.
|8 September 2021
|Eskom files an explanatory affidavit in the matter, and supports the relief sought by Sakeliga.
|26 August 2021
|Since the 1st to 3rd & 7th respondents, as well as the 4th respondent, did not annex all the documents to which they consistently referred in their affidavits, Sakeliga filed notices under rule 35(12) of the court rules to request the outstanding records.
|25 August 2021
|1st to 4th & 7th respondents file answering affidavits.
|26 May 2021
|Sakeliga serves notice of motion and founding affidavit on the respondents.