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Ramaphosa and co. taken to court over no municipal service delivery

The civil rights organisation AfriForum and the Mafube Business Forum announced today at a media conference that they are going to challenge Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa and 16 other respondents in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein tomorrow (27 January 2022) to ensure service delivery in the Mafube Local Municipality – specifically in Frankfort. Frankfort, Tweeling, Villiers and Cornelia are managed by the Mafube Local Municipality.

Despite Frankfort being the hometown of Sisi Ntombela, Premier of the Free State, residents of this former upscale town receive no municipal services. The municipality is officially bankrupt; regular water shortages, no refuse removal, a dysfunctional sewage system and potholes are but a few of the problems that all residents of this town have to deal with. Moreover, the municipality has not sent any municipal accounts for various years now.   

The Mafube Business Forum is bringing the court application on behalf of the residents of Frankfort. The court case promises to establish important legal principles that will give communities the right to manage municipal services where these services have collapsed completely. 

According to Jacques Jansen van Vuuren, Relations Officer of the Mafube Business Forum, it is seeking comprehensive legal advice. “Among others, we are seeking an order that would give us the right to manage a variety of municipal services for a limited period of time until national government intervenes to restore service delivery. The rendering of these management services will be funded from the fiscus. We hope for a favourable court ruling after a drawn-out fight over many years with the municipality to render basic services. The community is sick and tired of empty promises and corruption,” Jansen van Vuuren says.

“Although local governments are autonomous, there is still an supervision authority within the Constitution for the provincial government to ensure that these services are rendered. In this case, the provincial government was informed of the municipality’s problems, but they failed to intervene. This is why this obligation to ensure services lies with national government. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and eventually the President must intervene if the state does not comply with constitutional criteria,” says Morné Mostert, Manager of Local Government Affairs at AfriForum.

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