Oudtshoorn Municipality responds to High Court ruling on protest case

Oudtshoorn, 16 October 2023 – Oudtshoorn Municipality recently concluded a legal case against an individual who organized a protest in front of the municipal building, voicing concerns about higher tariffs.

The case was heard at the High Court in Cape Town on Friday, 13 October 2023, resulting in the following outcome:

  1. The respondent is interdicted and prohibited from dumping, accumulating, placing, depositing or leaving any waste, as defined in Section 1 of the By-Law, or causing waste to be dumped, accumulated, placed, deposited or left at any place identified in Sections 16(1)(b)(i) to (iv) of the By-Law and located within the applicant’s municipal boundaries;
  2. Conduct on the part of the respondent, and in particular in the context of the word “causing” in the previous point, shall include the following:
  • in-person interactions between the respondent and any other members of the public;
  • written correspondence, whether in hardcopy form or in electronic form;
  • telephonic and other forms of audio communication;
  • postings on any form of social media platforms; and
  • interactions with any newspapers, whether national, local or electronic;
  1. Each party to pay his own cost.

Prior to the legal proceedings, the municipality addressed the public and the individual regarding the protest. Here are some key points about the impact of such protests for the municipality:

  1. The accumulation of refuse bags in public areas poses significant health hazards for residents and passersby. Maintaining a clean and hygienic environment is crucial for our community’s well-being.
  2. Disposing of refuse bags outside designated collection points places an additional burden on municipal workers, leading to overtime work and disruptions to their schedules.
  3. Disposing of refuse in non-designated areas violates municipal regulations. Residents are encouraged to use official waste collection services and follow established disposal guidelines, as responsible waste disposal practices are essential for fostering a harmonious community.

A protest movement has arisen in Oudtshoorn, where residents were leaving filled refuse bags on municipal property near the museum to protest municipal tariffs. In response, the Municipality issued a strong warning to the protest organizers. During a recent protest, some individuals trespassed onto municipal premises, causing litter. The municipality has emphasized that such actions will not be allowed, and those responsible will face legal consequences.

Walter Hendricks, Municipal Manager of the Greater Oudtshoorn, expressed the municipality’s stance, “The municipality welcomes the court’s ruling that the black bags incident was unlawful. The municipality cannot allow the disregard of laws. This should send a clear message to all offenders. It’s not about the individual but the violation of the law. Arnoldus Greyling, the organiser of the protests, was warned, but he continued to challenge the municipality to stop him, and the ruling has proven his actions were unlawful.”

Hendricks went on to emphasize that the Executive Mayor, Alderman Chris Macpherson, has made it clear that it is the right of any individual or group to protest as long as they follow the proper procedures and respect the country’s laws. “I have taken note of the concerns of our taxpayers and request that we work together to structure the budget in a way that benefits our taxpayers and ensures effective service delivery at the same time,” Mayor Macpherson previously stated.

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