Threat to ANC Northern Cape congress as members head to court to stop 'distortion of party processes'

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ANC members wave the party's flag.
ANC members wave the party's flag.
Gallo Images / Sowetan / Thulani Mbele
  • A group of ANC members in the Northern Cape have approached the courts to halt a provincial elective congress.
  • The group also want the court to nullify regional conferences that have taken place so far and to declare the results invalid.
  • The ANC Northern Cape's elective congress will be held next weekend.

Disgruntled ANC Northern Cape members have launched a court bid to halt the province's much anticipated elective congress scheduled for next week.

This week ANC Northern Cape members Gloria Petersen, Glen Namies, Khadi Moloi and Mosimanegape Setlhogomi brought an urgent application before the Johannesburg High Court to stop next weekend's elective congress.

The group also want the court to nullify regional conferences that had taken place so far and to declare it invalid.

READ | Premier Zamani Saul sets out to fill Kimberley’s big holes

So far, the province's Francis Baard and Pixley Ka Seme regions held their conferences to elect new leadership.

In court papers, the group said the purpose of their application was to avoid the "continuing and distortion" of the democratic processes of the ANC's branch, regional, provincial and national structures.

The group argued the province's regional leadership was installed in November 2017 and had no legal footing with their three-year term of office having lapsed.

The group said:

The term of office of regional structures is directly connected to the terms of branch committees which precede the election of regional committees. As a result of the lapse of term of office of the regional structures, a special dispensation had to be established to deal with this conundrum.

In December, recently suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule issued directions to address the terms of office of structures.

In his letter dated 14 December, Magashule told ANC Northern Cape provincial secretary Deshi Nxganga, regional executive committees had no legal standing.

They, therefore, could elect or nominate delegates to attend a provincial conference as their representatives.

"As you are aware, the three-year term of office of the regional executive committees in the Northern Cape has expired and that they currently operate as interim structures in accordance with a directive issued by the SGO [Secretary General's Office]. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the election of office bearers at branch, regional and provincial level should be postponed and the existing structures should continue to operate as an interim structure until conditions, in particular gatherings, are once again permitted to conduct elections," Magashule's letter read.

The branch general meetings were held to elect and nominate members for the regional conference.

These were presided over by the interim structures' leadership, the group argued.

Given Magashule's directive, the group argued that all meetings and regional conferences be declared null and void given the "lack of legal standing of the interim regional structure".

READ HERE | Northern Cape ANC pilots new membership system, but some are complaining

According to the court papers, there were also instances of gatekeeping, manipulation of membership numbers and misrepresentation of branches at regional conferences.

Recently, Francis Baard and another regional structure became the first to pilot conferences held using the party's new membership system.

However, some leaders were concerned that the system had a number of problems and was open to massive manipulation.

The applicants intend to submit their application on 20 May.

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