GEORGE NEWS - An application by opposition parties in the George Council, who sought to overturn the election of the new mayor of George, Leon Van Wyk, was dismissed by the High Court in Cape Town on Monday.
The court found that the Speaker had acted within the law and the lockdown regulations, and that the measures which had been put in place, as well as the voting procedure, were totally reasonable. In its ruling the court dismissed all allegations of sinister intent, stating "it is clear that good reasons exist for the postponement or cancellation of each of the meetings so postponed or cancelled".
Following Van Wyk's election as mayor on 22 May, a collective of opposition parties - PBI, ANC, EFF and AIC - applied to the High Court to have the election reviewed and declared null and void, since they believe that the process was flawed.
George DA Constituency Head Geordin Hill-Lewis said in a statement on Tuesday their party welcomes the judgement, which they believe puts a stop to this attempt by the opposition to destabilise the George Council.
Speaker Gerrit Pretorius said he "would like to know" why the opposition participated in the process if they believed it was flawed. "If they won, would they still consider the process as irregular? Most importantly, the judge did not concur with any of the points raised by the opposition."
According to Adv Gert van Niekerk of the FF Plus, the costs involved with such a voluminous judgement and the appointment of attorneys, junior and senior advocates, could easily accumulate to R500 000 for both applicants and respondents. Chief Whip of Council Marlene Barnardt said it is a pity that a political game will cost taxpayers money.
Virgill Gericke, leader of the PBI, said the opposition takes note of the judgement. "We respectfully disagree with the judge on certain aspects of his judgement, but will reconsider our options in terms of the way forward," said Gericke.
"Part of the judgement states that the applicants (opposition) were within their right to take the matter to court. Our constitutional democracy is alive and vibrant and makes provision for parties to challenge the validity of any procedure in a court of law," he said.
"The intent of this application was not to destabilise any form of government, but to guarantee the integrity of the election of mayor."
Gericke said it is critical to note that all parties have the right to seek clarity in our courts on matters of constitutional interest. "This application is no different from what the DA is doing on a regular basis."