Pro-change lobby hangs on

2012-12-18 00:00

PRO-CHANGE lobbyists believe that their man, Kgalema Motlanthe, may yet become ANC president.

This was the spin from those in the Motlanthe camp, after his surprise withdrawal from the race for deputy president yesterday.

Others on the change ticket, including Thandi Modise and Tokyo Sexwale, also withdrew from secondary nominations yesterday.

Motlanthe will challenge Jacob Zuma for president, while Modise has opted to stand as chairperson against Baleka Mbete; and Sexwale as deputy president against Cyril Ramaphosa and Mathews Phosa.

It is a long shot, but it would appear that the pro-change lobbyists are hoping that threatened court action will result in the conference results eventually being nullified.

This was because disputed delegations from the North West and Free State were allowed to vote.

An interim structure would then have to be established to, among other things, drive the process of a new elective conference.

Given that those elected would be “tainted”, Motlanthe would be perfectly placed to head the structure, or so the lobbyists’ reasoning goes.

Yesterday, the ANC’s electoral commission presiding over elections advised the plenary to have separate ballots for the disputed North West and Free State provinces.

According to the NewsFire agency — an offshoot of the Daily Maverick website — the proposal was rejected by the plenary.

However, the commission believed it would still be prudent to do so and it went ahead with printing the separate ballots as a precautionary measure.

Whether this will be sufficient to stop all the election results being invalidated by a court remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the ANC will fight any proposed court action by disgruntled Free State and North West members, who on Sunday gave the leadership until noon today to bar both provincial delegations from participating.

A conference resolution to defend such court action was taken yesterday and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was mandated to depose an affidavit in the matter.

This was confirmed by ANC attorney Krish Naidoo.

All eyes will therefore be on the Constitutional Court today, when Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke gives reasons for why it invalidated the Free State provincial elective conference.

This will pave the way for the court action by the disgruntled members, given that they believe the ANC is in contempt by allowing branch delegates from both the Free State and North West to participate in Mangaung.

A source from the group said chances were likely that they would launch a normal court application to declare the conference unlawful and not seek to interdict the conference.

“To launch an urgent application now would be pointless. These delegates [from the Free State and the North West] have already participated in the conference.

“They have voted. Once people have participated, the conference is either lawful or unlawful.”

Meanwhile, Free State Premier Ace Magashule has challenged “the courts” to come and organise “his provincial conference”.

Magashule was appointed by the NEC as part of an interim task team in the province — something that the disgruntled members who took the ANC to court now challenge.

“That bunch [the disgruntled Free State members] wants me out of the task team. Why? Are they crazy? I’ve got more rights than them. They are no longer members of the ANC. They were suspended. I am an NEC member,” Magashule said.

“The only law I care about in this case is the constitution of the ANC. The courts can try to come and organise my provincial conference. They won’t be able to.”

Magashule said he would be elected provincial chairperson unopposed when the province reruns its conference in three months’ time. “I don’t even have to visit branches. They love me. I’m their premier. I’m their chair.”

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