National News/24 October 2023,14:11pm/ Staff Writer
Embattled Matjhabeng Local Municipality Mayor Thanduxolo Khalipa: image supplied
By Staff Writer: In a recent turn of events, Matjhabeng Local Municipality’s urgent court order application was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. The respondents had filed their answering affidavit a few hours past the stipulated time, leading them to seek condonation.
The applicants, including the Executive Mayor, the Municipal Manager of Matjhabeng Local Municipality, and Absa Bank, had moved to the court to stay writs of execution issued under judgments given in a different division of the High Court. The respondents, however, argued that the court lacked jurisdiction in this matter, among other claims.
The respondents also pointed out that the application was not urgent, and if regarded as urgent, the urgency was self-created.
They further alleged that the application was an abuse of process, and the applicants lacked the authority to apply on behalf of the municipality. The respondents maintained that the applicants failed to make out a case for the relief sought and did not satisfy the requirements of an interlocutory interdict.
Initially, the respondents filed a Rule 7 notice challenging the authority of the applicants, but this challenge was later abandoned in court. The court, before making any conclusions, had to consider its jurisdiction.
Mr. Kruger, of Venter Incorporated Attorneys, was criticized for treating the court order with disdain, an act that may constitute contempt of court. However, the court decided not to make such a finding at this stage but would consider it when making an order as to costs.
The Constitutional Court had previously held that under section 165(5) of the Constitution, a court order is binding until set aside, irrespective of its validity. A party bound by an invalid order must comply with the order until it is set aside.
Despite the court’s finding of lacking jurisdiction to deal with the matter, the interim order had a legal effect and remained enforceable until set aside. The court expressed concern over the disregard for the order, stating it was treated as if it had no effect.
In the final judgement, the interim order made by the court was reconsidered and set aside. The interim application was dismissed on the grounds that the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the matter. The applicants were ordered to pay the costs of this reconsideration application, excluding the costs of the third respondent, jointly and severally, on an attorney and client scale, including the cost of senior counsel.