South Africa: SCA's Tshwane Ruling Proves Courts Cannot Fix Fundamental Political Dysfunction

opinion

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) confirmed earlier this week that the Tshwane city council should resume its work, allowing it to elect a new speaker and mayor. For months it was governed by an administrator. However, unless there is an agreement between two of the three largest parties to establish a relatively stable government, the dysfunction in Tshwane is likely to continue.

If, as reported in the media, the Tshwane city council will meet on Friday to elect a new mayor, it is possible (but not guaranteed) that the capital city will have a new mayor by the weekend.

For the past several months, Tshwane has been governed by an administrator appointed by the Gauteng provincial government. The appointment of an administrator was necessitated by the March 2020 decision of the Gauteng government to dissolve the Tshwane council.

This means there has not been a democratically elected government in Tshwane since April.

The Supreme Court of Appeal interpreted the Constitution as only allowing governance by an administrator for a period of 90 days. During these 90 days a new council is supposed to be elected. However, because of the State of Disaster, all by-elections were suspended, so...

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