We want to learn from our mistakes – Gwede

The ANC aims to learn from the mistakes it has committed which led to factional battles, resulting in two court challenges, the party’s steering committee chairperson Gwede Mantashe has said.

He said the ANC has been vindicated by the Constitutional Court judgment allowing 324 Free State delegates to participate in the the party’s elective conference in Mangaung, the party said today.

The court last week declared the Free State ANC conference invalid but the reasons for the order were only given today.

Addressing the media today, ANC Steering Committee member Jeff Radebe said the ruling was a sign that the ruling party respected the rule of law.

Disgruntled members from the Free State took the party to court alleging that the nominations processes were flawed and that some members had been deliberately excluded.

“We reiterate our firm commitment to the rule of law and independence of the judiciary,” said Radebe.

The ANC also reiterated its stance that any of the members who took the party to court, without exhausting internal party grievance procedure, had automatically expelled themselves from the organisation.

Radebe said the party’s outgoing national executive committee had taken a decision on Saturday to accept any outcome of the court.

“We took a precautionary measure to ensure that we will deal with this matter in anticipation of any court challenge and the Electoral Commission decided that the ballot papers of North West and Free State will be in a different colour code (to exclude their votes if the court ruled against the ANC). But this clarification by the court, we are absolutely happy about that,” said Radebe.

Chairperson of the Steering Committee Gwede Mantashe acknowledged that the court battle was a result of intense factional infighting.

He said some factionalism could be expected in political processes but urged members not to use factionalism to divide the organisation.

“We must ensure that factions don’t take over the organisation,” said Mantashe, adding that the ANC would carefully study the judgment to avoid repeating the same mistakes that led to the party being taken to court.

He said they were still studying the judgment although they were very happy with the outcome.

Radebe indicated that the province’s disbanded PEC would not be reinstated but that the task team appointed in its place would remain.

He appealed to members to accept the outcome of the case.

“Our courts, particularly the Constitutional Court, is the final arbiter in disputes and they are final and binding on all, including the ANC,” said Radebe.

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