No Special Council Meeting tomorrow!

Speaker: “DA’s request for a Council Meeting is unlawful and invalid.”

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Drewan Baird. Oudtshoorn. 18 June 2013. 10h15. The Speaker issued the following media statement today, following his decision not to call a Special Council Meeting for tomorrow:

The speaker on Monday informed counsel for the 11 DA councillors that their request for a Special Council Meeting on Wednesday, June 19, was unlawful and invalid.

The Speaker will therefore not acquice to the request.

Instead, a special urgent workshop is scheduled for June 19 in the ongoing attempt to finalise the Budget which had previously been workshopped to the satisfaction of all parties, despite subsequent opportunistic claims to the contrary.

The DA’s request for a Special Council Meeting correctly claims that “if a majority of the councillors request the meeting in writing the Speaker must convene the meeting”.

The majority of the councillors in Oudtshoorn, however, is 13, and only 12 signed the request.
 
The finding regarding what constitutes a majority when there is vacancies, in the 2001 Gauteng case which the DA pointed out – Oelofse and Others v. Sutherland and Others, is firstly limited to its facts according to the learned writers, with whom the Speaker says he agrees. Moreover, the Speaker respectfully submits that the judgement is legally unsound and impractical.
 
The Speaker maintains that the 2009 Western Cape judgement delivered in the Stephen De Vries v. Eden District Municiplaity case to be the correct finding on this point. The learned Judge said the following:
“….I am satisfied that s30(1) has the meaning I have proposed in this judgment. If the same phrase in the two sections must have the same meaning, it is s29(1) which would yield to the interpretation of s30(1). I say this because there is specific textual support for the interpretation I have given to s30(1) and there are no specific contrary textual considerations in respect of s29(1).”
 
The Speaker today formally denied the DA’s request for a Special Council Meeting due to non-compliance with the requirement contained in s29 of the Structures Act, which renders the request unlawful and invalid.

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