Free State ANC fight: ‘We’ll die for the truth’

2012-11-24 19:06

Members of the Free State ANC who have opted to break the cardinal rule of settling disputes within party structures say they are “ready to die” for their cause.

This comes after six members cleared an initial hurdle to challenging the election of the Free State ANC provincial executive committee (PEC), when the Constitutional Court ruled that it would hear their appeal.

If these six members, who say they represent between 3 000 and 4 000 members of the ANC in the province, get their way, it will likely render the “entire organisation in the province dysfunctional”.

These were the words used by Free State High Court Judge Mojalefa Rampai when he dismissed the applicants’ case in the Free State High Court last month on technical reasons.

The Constitutional Court has now granted an appeal, ordering the ANC and the members of the PEC to file their affidavits opposing the matter by the end of tomorrow.

The merits of the case will be argued on Thursday, just more than two weeks before the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung and as the Free State’s process of electing delegates gets under way.

If the six applicants get what they want, the province’s process of electing delegates for Mangaung could be thrown into chaos.

ANC member Mpho Ramakatsa, who spoke to City Press on behalf of all the applicants, said the court case was the result of problems that emerged during the last local government elections.

He said: “There were grievances about how those processes were run and candidates were changed to those who were preferred by people in power.

This was not just in the Free State, but all over.

A national investigation was launched, but until today we do not know the content of the report that followed.

“We took buses to the national office, got an undertaking from President Jacob Zuma that the Free State provincial conference would not go ahead and sent written complaints, but we got no feedback and the conference went ahead.”

According to Ramakatsa, he and his co-applicants were still convinced the ANC was the perfect organisation to steer the country in a different direction.

But he took aim at the current leadership, saying: “Those in power have become masters and not servants of the people.”

Ramakatsa said the court cases had been tough for the applicants. “It affects our families and we lost some friends along the way. Some friends do not want to be seen with us.”

Ramakatsa, a businessman, added: “I am not scared to fight for the truth.” He joined the party when he was just 14, he said.

Another applicant, Elisha Mbangula, is the owner of a small business from Welkom. He said he was just an ordinary ANC member who wanted to do what was right. “I am not scared to fight for this. I am ready to die for the truth,” he said.

The ANC in the Free State has accused the six of trying to block the province from attending the Mangaung conference in its own back yard, but says it will respect the court’s ruling.

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