South Africa Opposition Wins Court Battle for Control of Capital

South Africa’s main opposition party won a court case on Tuesday that clears the way for it to retake control of the Tshwane municipality, which includes the capital, Pretoria.

The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld a High Court judgment that nullified a March decision by the provincial government, which is led by the ruling African National Congress, to place the municipality under administration to fill a leadership vacuum that ensued after a protracted power struggle.

No party holds a clear majority in Tshwane. The Democratic Alliance wrested control of the municipality from the ANC by entering into a loose alliance with the Economic Freedom Fighters after a 2016 local government vote, but their cooperation accord subsequently unraveled.

At the time of the dissolution, the Gauteng provincial government said an administrator would be appointed to run the municipality until a new council was elected within 90 days. The courts blocked its previous attempt to take control after the DA objected on the grounds that proper processes weren’t followed.

The DA described the move to place Tshwane under administration as a “power grab,” and welcomed the SCA’s ruling that its administration and councilors should be reinstated.

The provincial government said it has noted the judgment and will meet on Wednesday to discuss its next course of action.

South Africa’s next local government elections are set to take place in 2021.

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