High court ruling stopping interim ANC leaders from voting could affect Free State, Western Cape

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Obed Bapela.
Obed Bapela.
Deaan Vivier/Netwerk24
  • The ANC is worried the ruling preventing North West interim leadership from voting at the ongoing provincial conference will affect two of its other coming conferences. 
  • Given that the party in the Free State and Western Cape also have interim leadership in place, whose term of office was also extended, it believes similar court action could be lodged. 
  • As a result, the party is deliberating on whether to challenge Friday’s court ruling.

The ANC is worried the Mafikeng High Court ruling interdicting its interim North West leadership from voting at the party's ongoing elective conference will have implications for its coming Free State and Western Cape conferences as well. 

Addressing the media on Saturday afternoon, Obed Bapela of the ruling party's North West national executive committee (NEC) said the ruling “has far-reaching consequences for the Free State and the Western Cape,” hence they are considering appealing it. 

On Friday evening, Mafikeng High Court ruled in favour of an unhappy party member who'd launched an urgent court interdict to prevent the interim North West leadership from voting at the ongoing conference. 

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The applicant, Tshepo Bosman, argued that the interim Provincial Committee (IPC) was unconstitutional as a result of its term of office having ended. 

As a result of the ruling, the interim leadership’s participation at the provincial conference will be drastically limited, with Bapela announcing that NEC members will now be working hand in hand with the IPC member throughout the programme. 

Bapela said while there wasn't enough time to appeal the decision and have the IPC to take part in the ongoing North West conference, because it was already in progress, he said the NEC deployees were considering challenging parts of the ruling, including the cost order. 

“We are looking into the matter of the order, particular at this point in time, because it has far-reaching implications for the Free State and the Western Cape that both also have an IPC that has been extended, as was the case with North West. The other two provinces also still have pending conferences, and that could also be a scenario that plays out there. 

“The ANC’s national working committee will be engaging with the legal team through the secretary general’s office to see what could be done,” said Bapela. 

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He clarified the party's reading of Friday’s ruling was that the Interim Regional Committee (IRC) could still take part in the conference, despite being appointed by the same IPC whose term of office has been deemed by the courts to have run its course. 

“The IRCs are not cited in the court order and the judge in his ruling only listed the IPC members. 

“On the issue of regional structures, we had engaged on it as NEC deployees from this conference, and we are still further engaging and seeking legal advice on what does the ruling mean. For now, they are voting delegates and are not cited by the court as not participating,” said Bapela. 

He said he was aware of a looming new interdict that apparently is attempting to derail the provincial conference and stop it from going ahead. 

“The new interdict, yes, we have heard about it yesterday [on Friday], but we have not yet been served with the court papers and have yet to sign them. We will worry about this when the applicants get a court date,” said Bapela. 

Following Friday’s judgment, speculation is rife that former ANC North West chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, who wants to make a return to his former position, will be approaching the courts on Saturday seeking to interdict the conference from sitting. 

Insiders say Mahumapelo believes there wasn't enough time afforded to the aggrieved branches to reconvene their general meetings following the resolution of disputes by the national dispute resolution committee. 

Mahumapelo could not be reached for comment despite numerous attempts. 

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