Aggrieved ANC Eastern Cape members lose urgent bid to nullify 'festival of chairs' outcome

2018-06-25 18:22

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Aggrieved ANC members have lost their court bid to force the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) to disband the Eastern Cape executive committee elected at the so-called "festival of chairs" conference. 

The South Gauteng High Court struck the matter off the roll with costs on Monday. 

Judge Zeenat Carelse highlighted that the "urgency" was self-created, stating that it took the disgruntled members 11 days to approach the court after the NEC had discussed the Ndebele report. 

Also read: The ANC must first lead us but if it fails, we will opt for legal action - Eastern Cape member

The NEC, which is the ruling party's highest decision-making body, had tasked NEC member Sbu Ndebele to investigate the dispute around the Eastern Cape's 2017 elective conference.

The event descended into chaos when delegates threw chairs at each other, leaving scores injured. Some members abandoned the conference.  Oscar Mabuyane was elected to replace Premier Phumulo Masualle as chair of the party's third-largest province. The weekend-long conference had already been marred by deep divisions between the two rival factions.

In his report, Ndebele recommended a disbandment of the provincial executive committee which was elected at the conference and suggested that a new conference be held. 

Matter set down for next month

However, the NEC rejected his recommendation, with some members labelling his report "biased and not factual".

The report recommended instead that there should be a "political solution" that would involve NEC members travelling to the Eastern Cape to try and help build "unity" in the province.

The matter was only set for hearings a month later.

"Pertinently, on the applicant's own version, the matter cannot be rendered urgent to the extent that the applicants have requested a referral to oral evidence. This puts an end to the question of urgency. In my view the applicants have not made out a case for urgency.

"If there is urgency it is self-created," Judge Carelse ruled.

The aggrieved members had argued before the court that the minutes from an NEC meeting discussing the matter did not reflect that it had rejected or accepted Ndebele's report, but that the minutes only stated that the NEC had "noted" it. 

Deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, the minutes showed, had argued that the NEC had taken a decision to reject the report, leaving nothing to be implemented. 

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