Ace Magashule: ANC Eastern Cape 11 opportunistic

Johannesburg - ANC secretary general Ace Magashule described the ANC 11, who want to challenge the Eastern Cape provincial conference in the Constitutional Court, as opportunistic.

In court papers, Magashule said that the national executive committee (NEC) was internally dealing with an appeal by the 11 ANC members, relating to the conference, which was dubbed the "festival of chairs" after delegates threw chairs at each other, leaving 11 injured.

"The appeal is a blatant attempt opportunistically, to secure a political outcome while bypassing the very political structure immediately seized with the matter," he stated in the affidavit.

READ: Eastern Cape ANC members want ConCourt to strike down results of 'festival of chairs' conference

The disgruntled members want the conference set aside or nullified.

During a media briefing at Luthuli House on Wednesday, Magashule also told journalists that the ANC leadership would travel to the Eastern Cape to discuss the matter with its members.

"We now also have a national dispute resolution committee, which is a constitutional structure, so internal processes of the ANC will take place". 

The disgruntled 11 ANC members have approached the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa, for permission to skip the appeal process at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), after losing their case in the East London High Court in January.

The members argued that there could be "chaos and mayhem" if the provincial executive committee (PEC), elected at the disputed October 2017 conference, continued in office ahead of the country's 2019 general elections. 

But Magashule disputed this.

He argued there was no reason that the applicants could not approach the SCA first, "other than their desire to achieve a political outcome now, prior to their dispute being finalised through appropriate and fair internal structures". 

ALSO READ: ANC NWC rejects 'festival of chairs' conference report

The NEC tasked former transport minister Sbu Ndebele with investigating the legitimacy of the conference, after Premier Phumulo Masualle lodged a complaint with the NEC. The report has been finalised and will be presented at the NEC's next meeting. 

However, a purported leaked report claimed that Ndebele had recommended that the current PEC be disbanded and an interim structure formed to lead the province to fresh elections. 

Magashule tore down the ANC 11's argument that credentials, which determine if legitimate branch members are attending an elective conference, were never adopted.  He also disputed that the conference failed to form a quorum after 755 delegates left after the violence broke out. 

"The mere absence of members from a meeting does not mean that a meeting cannot quorate," he said. 

Magashule further argued that the conference was never adjourned as stated in the version of the ANC 11. 

"The full Bench accepted that the respondent's version that the meeting was never in fact adjourned, that it continued, and that the majority of delegates who remained present constituted a quorum." 

The conference elected Oscar Mabuyane as provincial chairperson, replacing Masualle.

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