Disgruntled Eastern Cape ANC members still want merits of 'festival of chairs' case tested in court

Disgruntled ANC Eastern Cape members who lost a court bid to force the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) to set aside the outcomes of the "festival of chairs" elective conference still want the courts to test the merits of their case. 

The South Gauteng High Court struck the matter off the roll on Tuesday, ruling that they failed to prove its urgency. 

The group wants the ANC NEC to implement the recommendations of the Sbu Ndebele report for the provincial executive committee (PEC) to be disbanded and for a fresh elective conference to be held. 

The ANC's NEC rejected Ndebele's report into last year's violent elective conference, which saw Oscar Mabuyane defeat Phumulo Masualle to become the province's chairperson.

The NEC settled on a political solution and asked warring factions in the Eastern Cape to work together.

But disgruntled members of the party have argued that not implementing the Ndebele report would have dire consequences for the political party.

PEC statement 'shocking, embarrassing'

"It is in our view that the refusal to accept the remedial actions of the Sbu Ndebele report sets a dangerous precedence," said one of the four complainants, Mawada Ndakisa.

He said it had the potential to "erode the integrity and the trust" supporters have in the ANC.

"We believe that if the organisation continues to undermine its internal democracy and processes comrades will continue to seek recourse outside of the internal structures set up to deal with such matters," warned Ndakisa.

The political party has been dragged to court numerous times as its members challenged either the outcomes or processes of some regional and provincial elective conferences.

Ndakisa also lashed out at the PEC following its own statement on the matter being struck off the roll.

"It is quite shocking and embarrassing, to say the least, that the PEC of the ANC views uneducated people and unemployed people as people who can't think independently and can't have views without being bribed," said Ndakisa.

Claims of a purge

The ANC Eastern Cape in a statement earlier this week said that the case was never a legal matter, but a "political ploy to defocus the entire ANC from its strategic agenda of creation of a united, non-racial and prosperous nation". 

"It is clearly a counter-revolutionary agenda, which is to take over the ANC and divert its agenda of reconstruction and development." 

It also questioned the sources of funding for the legal cases, accusing the applicants of being "used as agents to the counter revolutionary agenda".

"The irony is the fact that most of these applicants who take our movement to courts are unemployed, and they are a front for others who wanted to oppose the ANC at all costs for selfish and personal interests," the PEC statement read. 

Some in the governing party have made claims that there is a purge of those who did not support ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa's bid to lead the party at its 2017 national elective conference. Ndakisa calls for this to come to an end in his statement.

"We call on comrades to close ranks on the developing of a cult of personality and the purging of comrades who were not supporting a particular faction leading up to Nasrec (elective conference) and in the process undermining the unity, internal democracy and the stability of the ANC," Ndakisa said.

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