Court dismisses Eastern Cape ANC election list case

An application to nullify the African National Congress’s (ANC) election candidate lists in the Eastern Cape’s Alfred Nzo region was dismissed by the High Court in Mthatha on Wednesday.

Provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the case was dismissed with costs.

“We are proceeding with registering our candidates,” he said.

Disgruntled ANC members went to court to try and nullify party structures created with the establishment of new municipal boundaries.

They wanted the court to nullify all election work conducted in the region, including its list conference and the selection of candidates to run in the upcoming local government elections.

Mabuyane said the group had also sought to be placed on the candidate lists.

“They wanted to do this by using the list conference as the sole determining factor in who becomes councillor, but there is a long process after the list conference. That [the list conference] is just one part of it,” he said.

The applicants in the case were ANC members Thembisile Luvela, Neliswa Ntontela, Ntlameng Ngoma and Lucky Njoma.

The respondents were the ANC, the ANC’s provincial executive committee, the Alfred Nzo regional executive committee of the ANC and the Independent Electoral Commission.

The applicants charged that they represented 82 ANC branches, but the court found that they had no right to sue the party “for and on behalf of branches”.

The applicants submitted that the ANC issued guidelines on re-aligning party structures after the redemarcation of municipal wards, but that these proved difficult to implement.

A “parallel regional leadership” was formed which filtered down to the branches.

The applicants believed that this “informal parallel system” was caused by the “interference” of the provincial executive committee (PEC).

The PEC denied any wrongdoing and said the parallel structures were “the product of dissidents within the ANC who are bent on frustrating the legitimate leadership” of the region.

‘Valid and enforceable law’
It argued that the applicants did not adequately address their reasons for failing to exhaust internal party processes before turning to the courts.

In a 19-page judgment, the court found that the evidence presented was not enough to nullify the regional list conference and that its outcomes remained “valid and enforceable in law”.

“The applicants have not proved existence of the requisites for the granting of a final relief. The application falls to be dismissed.”

The ANC’s national leadership warned again this week that those who resorted to court action would face internal disciplinary action.

Mabuyane said members from the Amathole and Buffalo City regions were taking similar action the Grahamstown High Court on Thursday.

The court battles threaten to hamper the ANC’s timeous submission of its election lists.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s deadline is March 25.

The ANC has faced discontent over its candidate selection in various parts of the country.

A group of residents in Ficksburg, in the Free State, protested on Wednesday.

In the Western Cape, on Tuesday, ANC members stormed the party’s provincial headquarters. They were unhappy that their preferred candidates were not selected to represent the party in the May 18 polls.

Several protests over the selection of candidates have also been reported in the North West since Monday.

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