High Court dismisses ANC application with costs
12 March 2018
The Western Cape Government welcomes the High Court's dismissal – with costs – of the ANC's application regarding the appointment of an Environmental Commissioner.
In the shortest of hearings this morning, the court rejected the ANC's argument that the matter was urgent. The applicant – a spokesperson for the party's metro region – was also ordered to shoulder the costs of the application.
As the ANC well knows, the functions of an Environmental Commissioner – envisaged by the Western Cape Constitution when it was first promulgated in 1998 – have for years been adequately performed by existing organs of state, acting within expanded environmental and other legislation developed over time since then.
For this reason, an Amendment Bill has been published for comment on removing this provision of the provincial Constitution, as it has become clear the position is now just a duplication of functions being performed already, and would incur significant costs unnecessarily. No similar post has been created in any ANC-run province. Nor was the position established when an ANC administration ran the Western Cape.
It is also disingenuous of the ANC to claim that the notion of a commissioner would have had any powers related to the augmentation of water under the current water crisis.
Even if there had been a Commissioner of the Environment, the incumbent could not have given instructions to the national government or local governments in terms of how they carry out their constitutional water mandates, or effect disaster management remedies. To argue otherwise – as the ANC is attempting to do – is false.
The ANC has therefore wasted the court and the public's time. Readers of the Cape Times have also once again been duped by twisted sensational headlines this morning, blaring that the Province had been "hauled to court on water".
With the ink barely dry on the Cape Times' pages, the court immediately saw through the ANC's opportunistic application and dismissed it with costs.
Issued by Michael Mpofu, Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille, 12 March 2018