PAC faction fights IEC for recognition

2015-07-10 16:23


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One of two Pan Africanist Congress factions is taking the Independent Electoral Commission to court after it decided to terminate communication with all PAC groupings due to their infighting.

The two factions in the PAC have been embroiled in court battles over the past few years in an attempt to have their respective presidents recognised as the rightful leaders of the party.

As a result, the IEC shunned the organisation as it was not sure with whom it should communicate.

The faction of the PAC led by president Luthando Mbinda – who is the party’s parliamentary representative – was taking the IEC to court because they felt that it had stepped out of line and gone beyond its mandate.

The Mbinda group claimed that it had been “banned” by the commission.

But the commission said this was not the case.

“The commission has not banned the PAC as alleged. Over an extended period of time, it has been difficult for the commission to discern the true and authentic leadership of the party.

“Having followed a fair and transparent process, the commission came to the conclusion that communication with the leadership groupings in the party be suspended until such time the dispute is resolved by a court of competent jurisdiction. It should be noted that the electoral commission holds no mandate to mediate internal affairs of political parties,” the commission wrote in an email to City Press.

It added that it could not comment any more because the matter was before the court.

The secretary-general of the PAC faction at odds with the IEC, Bennet Joko, told City Press that what the commission had done to the organisation was paramount to banning it and that they would fight the decision.

“There has never been a leadership dispute in the PAC. The organisation took action against an individual and expelled him [Letlapa Mphahlele]. The IEC has always known the leader of the PAC, there is no confusion.”

Meanwhile the opposing faction held a congress in Bloemfontein last week where they reinstated the expelled Mphahlele as their president and Alton Mphethi as his deputy.

The spokesperson of that group, Lehlohonolo Shale, told this paper that the event went ahead with more than 700 delegates in attendance. On the eve of the event, the Mbinda-led faction attempted to interdict the event with an urgent application at the South Gauteng High Court. It was dismissed.

According to Joko, the only reason the application was dismissed was because they did not submit enough information to the court and on that basis the judge ruled against them.

“They tried to bring confusion to the judge. We needed to bring every piece of information we had, even that which referred to people who were not respondents in the application. The judge refused to get to the merits of the case.”

He added that the point of the application was not to stop the congress form happening, but to stop it from happening under the name of the PAC, because those who had called it were expelled members.

Mphahlele was expelled for mismanagement of party funds and Mphethi for not divulging information pertaining to a criminal case against him at the time.
The case against the IEC will be heard on Tuesday.
Read more on:    pac  |  iec

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