Dark shadows over Mangaung

2012-12-15 00:00

A THREATENED interdict to stop the ANC’s elective conference, two court cases and an apparent assassination cast a dark shadow on the eve of the biggest political show in town.

It was the last thing that party bosses wanted in the ANC’s centenary year.

Another headache for the ANC’s top brass was the possible disqualification of the North West’s 234 delegates.

At least 200 are expected to back Jacob Zuma’s return as party president.

A court case in which unhappy ANC members contended the election of that province’s delegates to Mangaung was illegal, was continuing in the high court at Mahikeng at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) is set to meet this morning to take a potentially dangerous decision over the participation of the Free State’s 324 delegates.

And in the Eastern Cape, disgruntled ANC members yesterday threatened to try and interdict the party from continuing with its conference, which starts tomorrow.

This as busloads of delegates streamed into Mangaung late yesterday and the final touches to the multimillion rand gathering of more than 6 000 delegates were being put in place.

A prominent Eastern Cape attorney confirmed there were attempts to stop the conference.

“There are few things that are being ironed out in terms of the court papers. I can confirm that there is such a move, but I can’t say much,” said the attorney, who did not want to be named.

The disgruntled Eastern Cape members were to interdict the conference because of irregularities and alleged bogus delegates at the party’s provincial nominating conference.

The Eastern Cape has also nominated Zuma for a second term.

The attorney said there were appeals to the NEC that had yet to be addressed. Complaints lodged with the national executive were simply dismissed on technical grounds.

“We want the conference to be postponed. The ANC is not ready for the conference,” he said.

The possible interdict follows the blow earlier yesterday when the Constitutional Court declared the ANC’s Free State provincial elective conference (PEC) invalid.

Yesterday the impact of the ruling was underplayed by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe,

There seemed to be confusion between him and NEC member Jeff Radebe on how the conference would proceed.

Mantashe suggested that Free State branch delegates would be able to attend because their branch general meetings in the build-up to the national conference were presided over by the regions and not the province.

He believed the only persons who would not be able to attend would be the 20 members who represent the provincial executive committee. However, he said that chairperson Ace Magashule would be present as he was a member of the ANC’s NEC.

Radebe took a more cautious approach, saying the NEC would meet today to discuss the implications of the ruling and how it will affect the conference.

On what would be done in the face of a possible interdict, Mantashe said: “It is a threat which we will deal with when it is a reality.”

Earlier at a New Age breakfast, Mantashe had bragged that the ANC had been taken to court 16 times and had won each time. Asked about this statement, he said the Free State matter was the first time the party had lost.

He said while the ANC would abide by the Constitutional Court’s judgment, it needed to wait until the reasons for the judgment were presented on Tuesday.

Political analysts were last night trying to decipher the implications of the judgment.

Aubrey Matshiqi said the Concourt ruling opened the way for interdicts to be served on the ANC calling for the conference to be called off or postponed. “We are going to face an interesting few days,” he said.

Constitutional academic Professor Pierre de Vos said that if it can be proved that the illegal election of the Free State leadership had a direct bearing on the composition of the delegation, that delegation was irregular.

To add to the ANC’s woes, a North West regional leader, Obuti Chika, was murdered yesterday morning.

Mantashe said the murder was an “extreme version” of the challenges facing the province, and it should be treated as a criminal act.

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