Opposing ANC members can leave — Mantashe

2012-11-29 00:00

THE secretary general of the ANC has said members of the party who have taken it to court are “free to join another political party”.

This is according to an opposing affidavit Gwede Mantashe filed in the Constitutional Court.

Six members of the ANC in the Free State are challenging the election of the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) in the Constitutional Court today.

In his affidavit, Mantashe said that the six members of the ANC “cannot attempt, through the challenge before this court, to subvert democracy and the will of the majority of members of the ANC in the province”.

Mantashe said the fact that the six “did not like the members of the PEC which were elected by the majority of the delegates at the [provincial] conference” did not entitle them to take the party to court.

The six members of the party allege that the election of the PEC in the province, headed by Ace Magashule as premier, was rigged.

In the Constitutional Court, they are arguing that this is an infringement of their right to participate in the activities of a political party.

But Mantashe said that those applying for the PEC to be declared unlawful had not raised any valid constitutional rights that were being infringed.

“[Their] rights of association with a political party of their choice are not infringed as they are free to join another political party if they are not prepared to subject themselves and accept democratic outcomes within the confines of the ANC constitution,” said Mantashe.

William Bulwana, provincial secretary of the ANC in the Free State, mirrors Mantashe’s words in his own affidavit, when he said that the applicants are “not prepared to accept the democratic principle that the minority should abide by or conform with the decisions of the majority”.

Bulwana said it was unlikely that the disgruntled members of the ANC could represent more than 5 000 people in a province where there were 120 000 members of the party.

He said that a “movement for a change of leadership in the province and in the country had little support in the Free State”.

But in his replying affidavit, Mpho Ramakatsa, one of the six disgruntled Free State ANC members, said that “democracy … does not simply imply the tyranny of the [supposed] majority, but concerns itself equally with the protection of minority viewpoints and rights”.

The case is set down to be argued in the Constitutional Court today.

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