Zuma T-shirts set alight in Mangaung

2012-10-13 18:03

T-shirts depicting President Jacob Zuma were burnt outside court this week as disgruntled ANC members sought to dissolve the party’s Free State executive ­committee.

Inside the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein, Advocate Dali Mpofu, representing the six ANC members, argued that the party’s national leadership ignored or refused to attend to their complaints.

In the first leg of their application, the applicants – Mpho Ramakatsa, Tumiso Mbethe, Majoro Mpuru, Elisha Mbangula, Cecelia Chaka and Ntshiwa Morolloane – have asked the court to bar the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) members from acting in their positions until judgment in the second leg of their ­application has been delivered.

The second part of the application seeks to nullify the provincial conference at which the current leadership was elected, and to dissolve the executive committee.

Five thousand people have since joined the application.

Mpofu said in court on Thursday that “the boss” of the ANC in the Free State – provincial secretary Sibongile Besani – wrote a series of letters to the national leadership informing them about the background to “the crisis” in the party.

Besani leads a faction opposed to Premier Ace Magashule and his supporters.

Mpofu said the letters detailed how membership and attendance registers of regions were “tampered” and “fiddled” with.

He said Besani complained that financing of these conferences was kept secret and that he was unable to tell where resources were ­coming from.

In a letter dated June 22, addressed to ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe and the party’s national executive committee, Besani said that he will not participate in the provincial conference that took place in Parys and that he found it unacceptable that he could not “access reports of branches”.

June 22 was the same day on which the provincial conference commenced.

Mpofu said this was the “boss saying I cannot be part of (the conference) because my conscience will not allow me to be part of this”.

He also told the court another ANC member handed a dossier containing Besani’s concerns to Mantashe, who apparently said no further action would be taken and the ANC was happy with the outcome of the provincial conference.

Advocate Majel Wessels, arguing for the respondents, including Magashule, said that Mantashe stated in an affidavit he was aware of the unhappiness and that the ANC only endorsed the outcome of the provincial conference after having received detailed reports from ANC deployees.

Mantashe also said the NEC’s endorsement was the only decision taken in this regard.

Wessels said this decision was taken a month after the court papers were filed, making the application by disgruntled members premature. He also voiced the dissatisfaction that the disgruntled members had not exercised internal remedies following the provincial conference.

He said the applicants acknowledged that branches should have been served with court papers, but instead a notice, which was not condoned by the court, was published in newspapers.

Wessels said the application was stillborn because the applicants ­ignored the rules of the court. He asked that Judge MH Rampai ­dismiss the application.

Wessels said his clients realised if this matter wasn’t finalised and an order was only made during or after the ANC’s Mangaung conference, it would have a far greater ­impact, so they were not trying to delay the case.

Judgment was reserved until ­October 26.

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