Mpho Phalatse with his lawyer after the court heard his case against Johannesburg President Colleen Makhubele last week. In the end, it was clear that Phalatse’s attorney, Carol Steinberg, had the upper hand.

  • The Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg has declared Mpho Phalatse’s ouster illegal, unconstitutional and invalid.
  • Judge Raylene Keightley declared invalid the conduct leading to and after Phalatse’s ouster.
  • Speaker COlleen Makhubele was ordered to pay the costs of the motion, including the costs of two counsel.

It turns out Mpho Phalatse was right when she insisted she was still the executive mayor of Johannesburg – at least before Gauteng High Court Judge Raylene Keightley.

In a judgment delivered Tuesday morning by the High Court in Johannesburg, Keightley said the September 30 decision to remove Phalatse in a no-confidence motion was unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid.

READ | Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse looks to city residents to keep her in office

After hearing arguments presented on behalf of Phalatse and lecturer Colleen Makhubele, Keightley began his judgment with a 1681 quote from the English poet John Dryden: “Conspiracies, true or false, are necessary things, to raise commonwealths and ruin kings.”

“As this case shows, although written at a time when politics was characterized by the struggle for power between the general populace and the king, these lines could just as well be applied to describe the power struggles that are came to define our modern era of coalition government.

“In the case before me, we don’t have a king. But we have the ex-executive mayor of our city, Phalatse, who claims to have been illegally deposed through a tainted no-confidence motion. of illegality.

“On the other side, we have Makhubele, the speaker who, by virtue of her office, led the process that resulted in the dethroning of Phalatse.”

Keightley said she would not award a costs order against Makhubele because “although the speaker could be said to have overlooked their importance in the way she carried out her duties, the parties are all politicians engaged in political battles”.

She added that politicians understand “the cutting and pushing of litigation when the political skirmish becomes contentious.”

And the judge thinks more skirmishes and battles will follow.

“Under the skin is a power struggle between different political parties.

“In this context, it is very rare that a party can invoke the moral basis when it comes to the question of costs.

“Furthermore, the speaker did not act alone in the decisions she made; no doubt, she acted with the support of political associates with whom she is aligned. The political context of this case, to my notice, make an order for personal and punitive costs improper.

The court ordered the following:

  • Makhubele’s September 29 decision to schedule a special council meeting for September 30 is declared illegal, unconstitutional and invalid.
  • The decision to place a motion of no confidence in Phalatse as Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg on the agenda for the September 30 extraordinary meeting is declared illegal, unconstitutional and invalid.
  • The council’s decision on September 30 to elect Dada Morero as executive mayor of the city of Johannesburg is declared illegal, unconstitutional and invalid.
  • Phalatse is declared executive mayor of the city of Johannesburg.
  • All decisions made by Morero as executive mayor are declared illegal, unconstitutional and invalid and are reviewed and reversed.
  • Makhubele is required to pay the application fee, including the fee for two counsel, one being lead counsel.