Free State supporters advise ANC not to celebrate

2012-12-19 00:00

DISGRUNTLED Free State ANC supporters have advised President Jacob Zuma and his supporters not to break out the champagne just yet.

A lawyer representing the six Free State ANC members, who were successful last week in having the Constitutional Court declare their province’s elective conference unlawful, confirmed yesterday that he had been instructed to take further legal action.

In what was widely claimed as a victory by the ANC yesterday, the court ruled that lawfully elected branch delegates from the Free State would not be affected by the order it had made.

But Thabo Kwinana, representing the successful constitutional litigants, said they would “most likely” be launching a court application for the Mangaung conference’s outcomes to be “reviewed and set aside”.

“We have been given a go-ahead to determine which is the best way of going forward [legally],” Kwinana said.

He said an interdict against the conference was still an option, but that a review of the entire conference was more likely.

The ANC had previously accepted that the 20 Free State provincial executive committee members at Mangaung could not participate, but had maintained that the 324 branch delegates were not affected.

The appellants disputed this interpretation and argued the ANC must prevent the entire Free State delegation from participating.

In its majority judgment, penned by Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Chris Jafta, the Constitutional Court yesterday said its order did not “affect the rights of delegates who had been elected at properly constituted branch general meetings of the Free State province to serve as delegates at any other conference of the party”.

But Kwinana believes this finding is a “double-edged sword”.

“The question then becomes which branches are properly constituted? The ANC itself cannot give you that answer,” Kwinana said.

Kwinana said the ANC should have done an audit of branches that were lawfully constituted before allowing all delegates to participate.

The case of a group of North West ANC supporters, who also claim their conference was rigged, will likely be part of the review case.

Last week, the North West High Court in Mahikeng dismissed an application for an interdict by the dissidents, but ordered the Mangaung conference to consider their complaints.

Members of that faction said they understood that this item had not yet been placed on the agenda of the conference.

Speaking outside the Constitutional Court earlier yesterday, Mpho Ramakatsa, one of the successful appellants in the Free State matter, said the fight was far from over.

“We will follow the route of dealing with the Mangaung conference the same way we dealt with the Free State conference.

“Those that emerge from Mangaung should not celebrate because their celebration will be short lived,” he said.

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