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ANC: 2 more provinces head to court over conference results

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ANC: 2 more provinces head to court over conference results

14th September 2017

By: News24Wire

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The African National Congress (ANC) is in court in another two provinces as more branches allege irregularities ahead of the party's hotly contested December elective conferences.

In the North West, the party wants the High Court in Mahikeng to rescind an August judgment that interdicted an elective conference by the Bojanala region, after disgruntled members argued that at least 40 branches were not constitutionally launched.

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They have cited ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, and provincial and regional leaders as respondents.

The Eastern Cape's biggest region, OR Tambo, has also hauled the party to court to nullify the outcomes of a regional elective conference, expected to further delay the provincial elective conference.

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The conference has already been postponed three times.

The ANC in North West will be represented by Advocate Thembeka Nguckaitobi, who represented the ANC members who won their legal battle in KwaZulu-Natal this week.

The KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg nullified the 2015 provincial conference on Tuesday after disgruntled members argued that there was vote rigging and other irregularities ahead of - and at - the conference. The PEC has said it would appeal the judgment.

While the judgment on September 12 had no real impact on the branches that will nominate the new party leadership and elect delegates to represent them at the elective conference, the outcomes of the North West and Eastern Cape court decisions could affect the upcoming conference.

'Everything is on board'

In his affidavit, North West secretary Dakota Legoeta argues that, if the rescinding application is unsuccessful, more than 200 branch members will be denied their right to vote at the December elective conference.

"The protection of the organisation - be it at national, provincial or regional level - is imperative, given the pending national conference in December 2017 and the fact that the Bojanala district will, if the interdict remains in operation, have its voting power diminished by 233 votes, also underscores the urgency of this application," Legoeta said.

He said the 40 branches interdicted were properly launched.

Eastern Cape provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the OR Tambo region's disgruntled members had no case against the party.

"We believe that this challenge is just a strategy to disrupt the ANC in the province and cast aspersion on the provincial conference. We don't think it carries any weight to make conference not to sit. We have a case to argue, everything is on board."

Describing the difference between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal court cases, Mabuyane said the party in the province didn't take short cuts.

"We stick to procedure and we don't suspend the ANC constitution. We have been delivering credible conferences. We think we have done our best to ensure that all internal process are followed to the letter, using tools of the ANC."

He said the party's lawyers were ready for the court case on Thursday. He added that the case did not have any bearing on the party's provincial elective conference, as 90% of its branches needed for the conference to proceed, had been met.

'Selected by deceased persons'

However, Advocate Mvuzo Notyesi, who is representing two former OR Tambo region leaders who were ousted in its recent elections, told News24 that irregularities at the conference were so grave and serious that the only option was to nullify the conference.

"In one branch, in its general meetings, delegates were selected by deceased persons. Those delegates were fraudulently elected."

He said his clients had made appeals to the highest structures of the ANC before the regional elective conference, however: "Those delegates went to the conference and participated.

"You can easily come to the conclusion that delegates included bogus delegates."

He questioned Mabuyane's motives for dismissing the challenge by his clients, saying if he had taken time to read the appeal papers, he would have seen that his concerns were fully addressed.

Notyesi said he believed that he had a stronger case than the KZN branches that took the PEC to court.

"Here you have people deceased being used. The judgment in KZN is a boost to our challenge in that some of the principles will be applied. We are always confident on the merit of the case," he said.

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