DA in KwaZulu-Natal asks court to declare ward committee polls unlawful

The DA has hauled the eThekwini Municipality to court in a bid to have ward committee elections held late in 2016 declared unlawful.

Typically‚ ward committees are made up of representatives of a particular ward and are chaired by the ward councillor. They are meant to be an institutionalised channel of communication and interaction between communities and municipalities.

The DA went to the High Court in Durban on Monday‚ saying it wanted fresh elections. It claimed that the process to elect the committees‚ overseen by the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC)‚ was fraught with irregularities. Among their concerns was that in certain instances the venues where meetings were to be held to nominate committee members, were changed without adequate notice being given.

The court bid was adjourned so that the municipality could file opposing papers.

DA eThekwini chief whip Sharon Hoosen‚ whose affidavit was contained in papers placed before the court‚ said that the elections were not free and fair.

“The process by which the seven respondents were elected to such ward committees was fraught with irregularities and were not free and fair‚ thereby rendering the election process unlawful‚” she said.

Among the respondents are the municipality‚ council speaker William Lekgoa Mapena‚ the IEC and heads of political parties in the city.

Hoosen said that the DA had made its concerns known to Mapena‚ who nonetheless went ahead with the inauguration of the committees.

“Despite the municipality and the second respondent [Mapena] being alerted to‚ and requested to address the irregularities in the ward committee election process‚ it was resolved by the executive committee of the municipality to coordinate the inauguration of the unlawfully elected ward committees‚” she wrote.

The inauguration took place on April 8.