Sakeliga can now enforce criminal sanction against NW municipal manager

Minsipale verval

Sakeliga is considering approaching the High Court in Mahikeng for an order that the municipal manager of the Kgetlengrivier Municipality in the North-West, is in contempt of court and be sentenced to imprisonment or a fine or both. 

These steps are being considered as Kgetlengrivier Municipality has for more than five months been in contempt of a court order that certain records related to service delivery and finances of the municipality must be handed over to Sakeliga. Sakeliga requested these records as far back as 2020, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA). The request was left unanswered, and Sakeliga succeeded in approaching the court for an order to compel the municipality to hand over the records. The order was made on 1 March 2021, and gave the municipal manager of Kgetlengrivier municipality 60 days to provide the relevant records. The records were never provided. 

Sakeliga consequently now gives the municipal manager until 18 November 2021 to hand over the records pursuant to the court order. 

 There is no reason why Sakeliga should compel an organ of state to comply with a court order. In respect of more than a year’s failure and also contempt of court order to hand over simple records that any municipality should legally possess and make available to the public, there are only a few realistic conclusions that Sakeliga can draw. Namely, that the Kgetlengrivier Municipality has decayed to such an extent that it does not have the capacity to make basic records available, or that those records do not exist, or that the records are so incriminating that the municipality would rather withhold them even in spite of a court order. 

At the same time, the municipality is in contempt of a cost order made in Sakeliga’s favour in connection with the PAIA order on 1 March, which has since been taxed. Due to the municipality’s failure or refusal to comply with the order or merely acknowledging receipt of Sakeliga’s written demands, the sheriff of the court had to seize some of the municipality’s assets this week. 

As with Naledi and Ditsobotla municipalities where Sakeliga is currently asking the court to order mandatory provincial administration and intervention by an independent paymaster, the Kgetlengrivier municipality does not have the capacity to fulfil its basic legal duties and even comply with court orders. This degree of decay impedes the administration of justice and business certainty. Sakeliga is therefore consulting with its legal team and other role players on further possible strategic steps in the North-West to lay down lasting foundations for business independence. 

Issued by: Tian Alberts 
Legal and Liaison Officer: Sakeliga 

**Sakeliga is an independent organisation – consisting of nearly 12,000 members – working for a favourable commercial environment and to help build a resilient business community