Sakeliga and its legal representatives are finalising a substantive application for contempt of court against the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, her Department, and its Director-General.
The application stems from an order granted by the Gauteng Division of the High Court Pretoria on 9 November 2022. The order compels the Minister, the National Department of Cooperative Governance, the Director-General of the Department, and the Department’s Information Officer to furnish Sakeliga with all documents and information pertaining to the disaster management regulations that were promulgated by the Minister in 2020.
Despite numerous attempts by Sakeliga and its legal representatives to secure compliance with the order since December 2022, the Minister and her Department persist in their contemptuous refusal to adhere to the order.
It should be noted that a cabinet reshuffle in March 2023 caused a delay in pursuing enforcement of the order. This was due to changes in the ministerial office and restructuring of the Department between March and May 2023. Prior to the reshuffle and throughout the Covid-19 disaster management period, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma held the office of the Minister, until 6 March 2023, after which Ms Thembi Nkadimeng was appointed as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Dr Dlamini-Zuma currently serves as a Minister in the Presidency and will also be joined to the application due to her role in refusing access during the period of December 2022 until she vacated the office of the Minister in March this year.
Correspondence received from the State Attorney in August 2023, acting on behalf of the new Minister and her Department, not only acknowledged that the Minister and her Department are aware of Sakeliga’s demand for compliance with the High Court’s order, but also confirmed that they would continue to follow their predecessors’ conduct and would not grant the required access to the disaster management records.
The application is presently at its final stage of settlement prior to issuing. A further press release shall be issued upon filing of the court papers, which is anticipated within the next several weeks.