Eastern Cape 11 go to court to have 'festival of chairs' conference set aside

2017-11-20 18:46
Sbu Ndebele. (File, GCIS)

Sbu Ndebele. (File, GCIS)

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Johannesburg - Disgruntled ANC Eastern Cape members are going to court to have its chaotic September provincial elective conference set aside, despite a National Executive Committee’s (NEC) decision to deal with the matter internally.

The NEC has decided to hear an appeal against the province, led by ousted chair Phumulo Masaulle and other Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) members. A task team, led by NEC member Sbu Ndebele, has been appointed to hear the appeal.

However, the 11 branch members claim in court papers that, even if internal processes have not yet been exhausted, there is nothing stopping them from approaching the courts.

They say that their letters to the NEC were ignored and that their legal challenge was therefore justified.

READ:  Vexed ANC members take party to court

The members also claim that the ANC constitution does not state that the NEC has powers to declare that a conference was “unlawful, unconstitutional and [that it should] be set aside.

“At most, the NEC can suspend and or dissolve the PEC. However, the election of the PEC is not the only decision that was taken at the conference,” the 11 allege in the papers.

They also allege that the conference was riddled with irregularities, which includes claims that:

- delegates in at least 10 wards were not elected at properly-constituted branch general meetings;

- there was a dispute over credentials, forcing the then chairperson Masaulle to adjourn the meeting when violence broke out;

- delegates walked out when Masaulle adjourned the meeting;  

- and NEC deployees, who reconvened the meeting in the absence of PEC members, were not empowered to do so. 

The 11 members dismissed the respondents’ claim that the case was not urgent. Instead, they say that there is no need for the current PEC to be dissolved because they will have no impact on the upcoming December elective conference expected to elect new leaders.

“The branches elect delegates who partake in the conference. These delegates represent the branches and vote on behalf of the branches at the conference. Some of these delegates from the branches are elected to the PEC … Thus, the delegates who are part of the PEC, who were elected at improperly-constituted BGMs, will play a meaningful role in the national conference, “ the eleven argued in their papers. 

In response, the ANC in the province countered that all guidelines and the party’s constitution were followed.

They also argue that the ANC NEC was still dealing with the matter and that the complainants must therefore wait. 

“There is no reason why the applicants cannot await the completion of the ANC internal processes, which might very well lead to the outcome they seek. Accordingly, we submit that, because of the internal alternative relief that is available to the applicants and to which they have demonstrated unwavering belief, the application should be struck from the roll with costs,” the ANC said in its papers. 

READ: Mantashe faces heat as ANC locks horns over Eastern Cape 'festival of chairs'

The September conference was dubbed the “festival of chairs” by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa after delegates threw chairs at one another. 

At least seven people were hospitalised. 

The conference elected Oscar Mabuyane as chair and Lulama Nguckaitobi as secretary of the province.

Read more on:    anc  |  johannesburg

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