ANCYL fights back against contempt of court order

2017-07-06 16:45
Ahmed Kathrada. (News24, File)

Ahmed Kathrada. (News24, File)

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Durban - The African National Congress Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal has donned its legal boxing gloves and is fighting back against a bid to hold its leadership in contempt of court for allegedly disregarding a High Court interdict to stop disruptions at a memorial service for ANC stalwart Ahmed Kathrada in Durban in April.

The organisers of the event, the Active Citizens Movement (ACM), recently filed an application seeking an order that ANCYL provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo personally pay a fine of R50 000 and the league R100 000 to a charitable organisation for allegedly snubbing the interdict granted on the eve of the event.

The interdict, granted by KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban Judge Rashid Vahed, came after the ACM expressed fears for the safety of the keynote speaker, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and wanted ANCYL members barred from the event.

After promises from leadership that they would behave, Judge Rashid Vahed ruled that they could attend, but granted an order interdicting any "assaults, intimidation or harassment and any attempt to remove any of the speakers".

The ACM alleges the interdict was ignored and launched the contempt application after the ANCYL also ignored a subsequent written ultimatum that it apologise in paid-for advertisements in local newspapers.

Fightback

In his affidavit, ACM executive chair Benedictor Madokwe spelled out the political situation leading up to the memorial service and referred to utterances made by members of the league's national and regional leadership.

Sabelo, in response, wants all of this "struck out".

He accuses Madokwe of mistakenly referring to the youth league's regional, provincial and national bodies as one; making "wide ranging and irrelevant allegations of political history" and relying on hearsay evidence.

Sabelo argued that the interdict was granted only against the provincial membership and so utterances, for example by leader Collen Maine, were irrelevant.

"An enquiry into the non-compliance (of the interdict) can only be confined to scrutiny of the conduct of the provincial body against which the relief was originally sought and subsequently obtained," he said in his affidavit filed with the court.

"The provincial body and its officials should not and cannot be held responsible for what its national body and its officials do or say."

Madokwe also introduced a "large amount of political history" into the matter - including President Jacob Zuma's shuffling of finance ministers and his reported relationship with the Gupta family.

He also raised the implications of the Public Protector's State of Capture report, the decision by banks to shut down the Gupta's accounts, politicking at other Kathrada memorial services, the ANC succession battle, media statements and anti-Zuma protests.

Evidence

All were irrelevant, Sabelo said.

"It is a matter of political opinion and sentiment as to whether Zuma's private relationship with the Gupta family is or is not appropriate, whether his Cabinet reshuffles were valid or not, whether our support for Zuma and strong opposition to white monopoly capital is appropriate," he said.

"It is not a matter for the courts to decide."

Sabelo said while there was irrefutable evidence that the memorial had been disrupted, what had to be determined was whether or not the transgressors were members of the provincial youth league and if so, whether it was "intentional or deliberate".

"In delving into the political history, Madokwe is attempting to show the disruptions were deliberate and politically motivated… he stops short of alleging the conduct was premeditated.

"This has nothing to do with the issue at hand."

Sabelo said the ACM should be ordered to remove all "offending passages" and media reports from its application, which must be stalled until it has.

The ACM is expected to oppose the striking out application and proceed with the order for contempt.

Apart from the fines, it is also seeking an order that the ANCYL place a paid-for advert apologising for their behaviour in four newspapers, including the isiZulu-language publication, Isolezwe.

Non-compliance will mean Sabelo can be imprisoned for 90 days and the movement can attach league assets to the value of R100 000 for sale at auction.

The matter is on the court roll for August.

Read more on:    ancyl  |  ahmed kathrada  |  durban  |  judiciary  |  politics

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