South Africa, KwaZulu Natal: The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) is utterly shocked and disappointed that the Zululand District Municipality has deemed it appropriate to demand legal costs in respect of a matter that is currently pending before the courts and is yet to be determined by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
This conduct on the part of this municipality is not only inappropriate but is also unprofessional in that it ought to know that when parties are legally represented, it is impermissible and unethical for a party to raise legal issues directly with the other party.
Given that the municipality is also legally represented in this matter, it is simply incomprehensible why it deemed it necessary to engage in such reprehensible conduct.
On the balance of things, and judging from its painstaking conduct in ensuring the communication of this matter to the media, the only reasonable and inescapable conclusion is that the municipality is engaging in cheap political scoring and/or is trying to portray the Department in a negative light for unwarranted and unnecessary reasons.
To respect the legal procedures and processes, the Department has elected not to replicate the unprofessional conduct of the municipality but has instead instructed its attorneys to respond to this correspondence and caution the municipality to desist from engaging in such inappropriate conduct in the future.
The Department can only hope that the municipality will, through communication from the Department’s attorneys, be educated on the functioning and operation of court procedures and processes. In sum, therefore, the Department refutes any claim or suggestion that it owes the amount claimed by the municipality until this matter has been fully exhausted or determined through the court processes.
Moreover, KZNCOGTA and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Bongi Sithole Moloi, planned to visit the community of Ward 12 under the Abaqulusi Local Municipality, where she will unpack service delivery projects being implemented by the Department.
As part of her visit, she will oversee the installation of lightning conductors in the ward, which is part of the government’s program aimed at protecting vulnerable communities from weather-related incidents such as lightning strikes.
The MEC will also officially introduce the contractor that has been appointed by the Department to install electricity connections to houses within the ward.