The DA made oral representations to the North Gauteng High Court seeking urgent interim relief by way of an interdict to stop the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) from taking further action on decisions we contend were unlawful in the first place. Specifically, the Board’s decision to go ahead with its unilateral municipal demarcations of outer boundaries on account that its decisions are fraught with procedural irregularities, and are, therefore, irrational and should be set aside.
To this end the DA, in its heads of argument, raised a number of concerns. Chief among them being that the demarcation process was pushed through with such haste to the extent that due process and procedural fairness were compromised and failed to meet the requirements of the Demarcations Act.
Firstly, due to the lack of public participation and speed at which these decisions were taken by the Board, the poorest of the poor who often have to travel far and wide to express their democratic right for who is to represent their communities were left out of the process.
Secondly, the process was also inconsistent. Some dysfunctional municipalities were left alone; other functional municipalities were joined with dysfunctional ones. In some cases, the Board disregarded its own expert investigations.
It is clear that the process was politically motivated and flawed. We will demonstrate this in detail when we engage the substantive review of these decisions.
It is precisely for this reason that the Board is required to be independent, and is not a slave to the dictates of politicians.
Of greater significance, if the Board’s existing decisions are put into effect, and later set aside, the results could be serious.
Suffice it to say that the Board’s decisions in this regard could have far reaching ramifications for the discharge of free and fair elections which are a cornerstone of our constitutional democracy.
Should the Court make a late determination on the Board’s decisions, it could have adverse effects on the preparation of municipalities for elections.
Appreciating the seriousness and urgency of this matter the DA is hopeful that the Court will grant an interdict for interim relief and agree to hear the substantive matter of the DA’s review application at a later stage so as not to delay preparations for the impending elections.
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