Free State ANC PEC case to be heard

2012-11-29 15:55
(File, Sapa)

(File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Groups of Free State ANC supporters held a "sing-off" in a quadrangle at the Constitutional Court on Thursday, ahead of a hearing to determine whether their provincial executive committee (PEC) is legitimate.

The ANC Free State's general council meeting, which will decide its nominations of national leaders, has been delayed pending the outcome of the case.

ANC provincial branches throughout the country have until Friday to nominate their preferences for the ANC's top six positions and 80 national executive committee (NEC) posts.

The Constitutional Court action has been brought by a group which wants the PEC, which includes premier Ace Magashule, dissolved, claiming that it was illegally elected at a tainted conference held from 21 to 24 June.

The group claims that the delegates who chose the PEC had not themselves been mandated or elected at properly-constituted branch meetings; that branch numbers were manipulated to swell delegate numbers; and that some bona fide delegates were excluded.

The group also claims that parallel structures were allowed to participate, even though a dispute about this had not been resolved; that branches were not allowed to query audit findings; and that legitimate nominations had gone unrecognised.

Bogged down by technicalities

The group has asked the Constitutional Court to review and set aside the ANC NEC's decision to recognise the PEC, under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act. It claims the decision infringes its constitutional rights and its contractual rights as ANC members.

So far, the case has been bogged down by technicalities, such as whether papers were correctly served, but the merits of the case were to be argued on Thursday.

Magashule, the ANC and 24 other respondents have asked the court to dismiss the case, claiming, among other things, that the group had failed to exhaust the internal remedies provided by the ANC and that the matter could still have been dealt with at the Mangaung conference.

They argue that the NEC often received complaints in the lead up to provincial conferences, and that these were treated as genuine and were investigated by the ANC.

In court papers, they submitted that a task team had been sent to investigate the complaint, and that the parties had been allowed to state their cases before the NEC recognised the PEC as a proper constitutional structure.

One of the groups singing outside the court on Thursday appeared to support the nomination of Kgalema Motlanthe for president, Mathews Phosa for deputy, Fikile Mbalula for secretary-general, Thenjiwe Mtintso for deputy secretary-general, Thandi Modise for chairperson and Tokyo Sexwale for treasurer general.

A spokesperson for the other group, Reagan Booysen, of the ANC Youth League's Fezile Dabi region, said it supported President Jacob Zuma for a second term, and Magashule.

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