Phosa leads court bid to stop 'unity' branches’ from going to conference

2017-12-08 14:32
Mathews Phosa. (Picture: Theana Breugem)

Mathews Phosa. (Picture: Theana Breugem)

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Johannesburg – ANC presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa has filed an urgent court application to stop Mpumalanga branches that nominated "unity" for the ANC's top six positions from attending the party's national elective conference. 

If the delegates attend, Phosa's campaigner Ronnie Malomane and six others want them barred from voting for any "specific individual candidates".

The applicants have taken the ANC at Luthuli House, Mpumalanga ANC and provincial chair David Mabuza to court, with just seven days to go until the elective conference.

The applicants want the High Court in Johannesburg to declare that the meetings of the branches that nominated "unity" be declared "null and void, unlawful and unconstitutional".

The ANC constitution states that only members in good standing should be nominated for leadership positions.

They are also demanding that the December 1 provincial general council (PGC) that consolidated branch nominations be "derecognised".

Dlamini-Zuma preferred candidate

At least 233 branches nominated "unity" during their branch meetings. News24 reported in October that sources in the province said Mabuza had instructed branches not to choose any candidate but rather write "unity" on the leadership nomination forms. 

During the PGC, Mabuza made several attempts for the party's electoral commission and independent agency to declare that the province had nominated "unity". However this was rejected by officials who recorded the nominations as "abstentions".

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was declared the province's presidential candidates after she received 123 branch nominations and deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa got 117. 

Mabuza has been pushing for an arranged leadership to avoid contestation at the December conference. He said a contest risked further splitting the party.

However Mabuza's unity nomination campaign has been highly criticised and is seen as a "political master stroke" in influencing who replaces President Jacob Zuma when he steps down. 

A Ramaphosa campaigner, Sello Shai, is also listed as an applicant – but he said he was only joining Phosa's legal bid as an "aggrieved ANC member".

'Mpumalanga is being run like a spaza shop'

He said the applicants had exhausted internal processes as had written a letter to the ANC's national dispute resolution committee which did not resolve the matter to their satisfaction. He said secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was yet to respond to their appeal regarding the committee's failure to "rectify those mistakes". 

Both Shai and Malomane have accused the provincial executive committee of changing delegates elected by branches to go to the conference. 

"They are trying by all means to retain the Gupta-led ANC NEC (national executive committee). This will not happen, we will continue to challenge them until they do the right thing. Mpumalanga is being run like a spaza shop.

"This year we are here to stop those who have been urinating on this noble project of (former ANC president Oliver) Tambo for many years," he said.

Mpumalanga qualifies to bring 736 delegates to the national conference, making it the province with the second-highest number of delegates. 

Malomane said the matter would be heard on Tuesday.

Visit our special report, #ANCVotes, for all the news, analysis and opinions about the ANC’s national elective conference.

Read more on:    mathews phosa  |  johannesburg  |  anc votes

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