No opposition to Sakeliga’s municipal paymaster court case


Sakeliga demands ministers and North West Premier to file opposing papers before 25 August

None of the respondents in Sakeliga’s municipal paymaster court case, including the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Cooperative Governance and the Premier of North West, filed opposing papers in time at the High Court in Mahikeng. This, despite more than one postponement agreement that Sakeliga granted to the respondents.

Sakeliga has now demanded the respondents to file their opposing papers by 25 August, warning that should they fail to do so, Sakeliga will commence with an application to put the case on the unopposed roll for trial. This means that the respondents would not be able to deliver any arguments in the case unless they apply to the court for condonation for late filing.

Sakeliga brought a historic application to the High Court in Mahikeng in May this year, in which it requests that the Ditsobotla and Naledi municipalities be placed under the administration of a special, independent paymaster. Such a paymaster should ensure that fees for services, such as water and electricity, are paid directly to their suppliers, in accordance with the municipal budget and obligations, rather than being squandered by incompetent officials to the effect that business communities and residents are left without critical services.

“It is clear that book keeping and administration do not exist at the affected municipalities in the North-West. This means that millions of rands for electricity, water and sewerage services and other infrastructure projects are mismanaged and disappear each month with impunity, at the expense of businesses. In reports, the Auditor-General identifies businesses as the most prominent payers of municipal fees, while simultaneously documenting the total collapse of service delivery and shocking mismanagement by the municipalities. With this application, Sakeliga is taking a considerable step to end the ongoing waste, corruption and thuggery at North-West municipalities, ” says Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga.

“At the Naledi municipality, almost R1 billion disappeared between 2014 and 2020 due to wasted, irregular or otherwise corrupt transactions. Ditsobotla municipality owes Eskom more than R600 million. Meanwhile, there are frequent power and water outages and critical infrastructure upgrades are being neglected. As a result, local economies are being forced to a standstill and the entire community is suffering. The only way forward for sustainable business environments and communities is to bring about a direct flow of money between residents and businesses to suppliers such as Eskom, water boards and other service providers and to have these payment obligations administered independently.”

Sakeliga’s paymaster case forms part of a long-term strategy to halt state decay at municipal level, so that business environments can recover from years of continuous mismanagement and corruption. Past victories for Sakeliga, its members and their communities include interdicts to prohibit Eskom from shutting down paying users’ electricity, as well as orders in the Supreme Court of Appeal that organs of state that are indebted to one another cannot hold paying consumers hostage.

Click here for the notice of motion.
Click here for the founding affidavit.
Click here for the supporting affidavit.
Click here for the supplementary founding affidavit.