The Battle for Oudtshoorn

What happened in Court Tuesday;
what to expect Wednesday

Decision makers turn to O!O first for what’s really happening in Eden
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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 8 June 2013. 03h20. A draft court order was agreed Friday between counsels for Stoffels and Van Wyk, et al.

I’ll publish it as soon as it is authorised by the High Court.

The case had therefore not been dismissed as the DA claims.

An interesting standoff is now on the cards; a battle of wits is afoot.

Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 6 June 2013. 18h30. Developments in court late this afternoon will make for interesting talk on Friday.

I cannot publish the story yet as certain formalities are pending.

I’m wondering: How will the DA spin itself out of this one – because I am not there to draft their statements and by the previous one they need help.

Ag ja.

As I said earlier today, the word snookered comes to mind.

Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 6 June 2013. 14h15. All indications are that Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso will later today, or by latest tomorrow, allocate Stoffels v. Van Wyk et al to the first available Judge and set down a date.

Stoffels appears to have a particularly astute lawyer.

The game’s afoot… Said by both Sherlock Holmes and King Henry V, who first cried, “The game’s afoot; Follow your spirit; and upon this charge cry ‘God for Harry, Oudtshoorn and Saint George!'”

O.K., he didn’t say ‘Oudtshoorn’; he said ‘England’.

But there you are.

Snookered, is a word that comes to mind, but I do not know why.

Heard in the halls of justice sometime yesterday: “Daai aanlyn publikasie laat my DA boeties soos regte p… lyk.”

Or words to that effect.

Sometimes this job is o, so easy.

Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 6 June 2013. 12h25. Cape High Court Deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso this morning opted “to retain the file” of Stoffels v. Van Wyk et al.

Counsel for the DA councillors reported that Traverso dismissed the case.

Treverso in fact said that she would retain the file and decide if and when it will be allocated to a Judge as the court was overworked and no Judge was currently available.

There is no recourse in this event.

In the meantime a numerical majority of sitting councillors (12) called a council meeting for June 19. (See yesterday’s insert below.)

The Acting Municipal Manager, Ron Lottering, told O!O that he did receive the request for a Special Council Meeting and “that normal municipal procedure would prevail”.

Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 4 June 2013. 23h45. The DA councillors have still not filed founding affidavits. The Cope councillor and the Foolish Five apparently have seperate counsels.

The DA did attempt to settle the matter on several occasions on Tuesday.

First, Mr Justice S Desai took ill and could not attend the urgent roll.

The matter was transferred to Mr Justice MI Samela who turned it over to Madam Justice Jeanette Traverso.

Traverso wanted none of this business she called “political” and ordered the parties to settle.

The good Justice was eventually prevailed upon to accept that settlement was not an option and the matter stood down… to probably be placed on the urgent roll for Wednesday.

Adv Johan de Waal, for the DA councillors, came up with a little gem of a “solution”: The court was to order a council meeting and force the Speaker to be in attendance throughout the duration.

This attempt by the learned gentlemen is a beauty, because of the interesting make up of the Oudtshoorn council.

The Oudtshoorn council quorum is 13 – half of the total number of councillors (25) plus one.

However, an enabling quorum can call a council meeting in terms of s29 of the Structures Act: half of the total incumbent councillors, plus one.

Currently this number is [(12+8)/2]+1 = 11.

When the ANC replaces the two proportional councillors who deserted the party on Friday, the number wil be [(12+10)/2]+1 = 12.

The DA/Cope has 12 councillors – if Cope’s Reverend John Maxim plays ball and doesn’t finger the DA as Cope did in Eden and Bitou recently.

Now it gets interesting…

Once the council meeting is properly constituted, the quorum reverts to the number representing a quorum of the number of available seats: (25/2)+1 = 13. If the ANC walks out of such council meeting the meeting will colapse for lack of a quorum. Hence De Waal’s “solution” of forcing the Speaker’s presence which would ensure the magical 13. De Waal’s proposal was rejected by adv Michael Osborn acting for Speaker Stoffels.

This reverting principle was defined in a local, unreported, case: De Vries v. Eden District Municipality.

However…

If a councillor fails to attend more than three successive council meetings without an excuse granted by the Speaker, the councillor can be removed and the meeting may proceed without a quorum.

Three strikes and you’re out.

The DA will simply call a council meeting in terms of s29 four times in quick succession and eventually win the day… at least until the by-elections.

But… political prestidigitation will ultimately prevail.

No, come on, don’t expect me to ruin the fun by telling!

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5 thoughts on “The Battle for Oudtshoorn

  1. This promise from O!O on Thursday:

    “Developments in court late this afternoon will make for interesting talk on Friday.”

    Friday comes and not a single syllable is produced.

    For a while I thought Anton Bredell may have taken over O!O.

  2. Heh heh heh! Dit is darem nou lekker sports! Die kworum bly 13 tot en met die volgende verkiesing en die meerderheid kan onder geen omstandighede voortgaan sonder dat daar ‘n kworum is nie. Die beste isvir Oudtshoorn is dat die munisipaliteit onder administrasie geplaas word en skoongemaak word. Kom ons begin van vooraf.

  3. “Hence De Waal’s “solution” of forcing the Speaker’s presence which would ensure the magical 13.”

    That may be so, but remember that one of the DA klipkoppe insisted that the Speaker must recuse himself when the matter of the Speaker is debated. So, it would be reasonable for the Speaker to err on the side of caution and give in to the DA’s stated position in this regard by recusing himself immediately the subject of Speaker is raised. It would be the gentlemanly thing to do.

    Back to twelve and no quorum.

    As Shakepeare said in Hamlet

    “For tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his owne petar”.

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