Start main page content

Access to information victory for CALUSA

- Lee-Anne Bruce

The Mthatha High Court recently ordered the Sakhisizwe Local Municipality to release documents related to its state of governance

On Wednesday 9 June, the High Court in Mthatha granted an access to information request made by the Cala University Student Association (CALUSA). Represented by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, CALUSA approached the Court for access to documents on the Sakhisizwe Local Municipality’s state of governance. This litigation forms part of ongoing efforts to address the crisis of maladministration and financial mismanagement within the Municipality.

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies represents the Cala University Student Association (CALUSA) – a developmental NGO from the Sakhisizwe area of the Eastern Cape. CALUSA has spent the last three years trying to address service delivery issues in the area, including raw sewerage flowing down the streets of the towns of Cala and Elliot. They have made every effort in this time to access documents held by the Sakhisizwe Local Municipality which would assist in identifying and addressing the root cause of the current crisis, without success.

CALUSA thus contacted CALS to assist in making a formal access to information request of the Municipality using the Promotion of Access to Information Act or ‘PAIA’. After the request was refused in August last year, we approached the High Court in Mthatha to review this decision. On 9 June 2021, the High Court ordered that the Municipality must release all the documents which we requested that are in its possession. This moves us one step closer to the ultimate goal of having the Municipality dissolved and placed under administration.

“Access to information is often the first step in promoting other human rights,” says Vuyolethu Mntonintshi from CALS. “It facilitates transparency, accountability and good governance. We believe this information will be instrumental in showing that the Sakhisizwe Local Municipality is in the midst of a crisis born from maladministration and financial mismanagement. This crisis has clearly already had a devastating effect on the communities the Municipality is meant to serve.”

Read more in our founding papers here

For inquiries, please contact:


The Cala University Students Association (CALUSA) is a developmental non-governmental organisation based in Cala, within the jurisdiction of the Sakhisizwe Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape. CALUSA is mandated by structures such as the Sakhisizwe Moral Regeneration Movement, the Cala Ratepayers’ Association, Elliot Residents Association, Domestic Violence Monitoring Unit, Siyazakha Land and Development Forum. Find out more: