Free State ANC PEC members to challenge legality of Mangaung

The decision was taken following the handing down by the Constitutional Court on Tuesday of detailed reasons for its Friday judgment declaring the party's earlier Free State conference invalid.

Free State ANC member Mpho Ramakatsa who, together with five other ANC members, brought the initial application to the courts, confirmed that the legal review originally threatened in a letter to the conference would now go ahead.

Ramakatsa said that several of the Free State delegates attending the national conference were not legitimate as they emerged from processes after the invalidated provincial conference in Parys, which did not include duly constituted branch meetings.

Ramakatsa said: "Our aim is to get [the conference in] Mangaung nullified … It is not a properly constituted ANC conference as some of the branch members did not come out of proper processes. We are seeking to have another national conference within six months' time."

A legal source close to the case confirmed that preparations were being made to launch an application within days. It is understood that the North West province will do likewise.

In their founding papers in the Free State High Court, Ramakatsa and his colleagues had sought the narrow relief to declare the Free State provincial conference and the decisions taken there invalid.

In writing for the Constitutional Court majority, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Chris Jafta found the Free State's provincial elective conference, the executive committee elected there and any decisions and resolutions taken there "unlawful and void".

Allegations of irregularities
The judges wrote: "We emphasise that the declaration of invalidity applies only to the provincial conference. The declaratory order we make does not relate to or affect the rights of delegates who have been elected at properly constituted branch general meetings of the Free State province to serve as delegates at any other conference of the party."

It was this paragraph of the ruling that newly re-elected ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe referred to, on Tuesday morning at a brief press conference, to reiterate that the delegates from the Free State were legitimate participants in the conference.

But it is exactly this paragraph that will form one of the cores of the court application, the Mail & Guardian understands.

The Constitutional Court found that the ANC had failed to refute allegations of irregularities – which included the creation of parallel branch structures and branch general meetings that were not properly constituted – offering only "bare", "generic" and "bald" denials.

Some party members now allege that this pattern was repeated after the disputed Parys conference, where the nomination processes and the election of delegates to Mangaung were done.

The ANC's 'bare' denials
According to one ANC member who asked to remain anonymous, the Enoch Sontonga branch in the Lejweleputswa region that he belonged to was present at the Mangaung conference but had got there after procedural irregularities.

The ANC member said: "According to the national office's audit report, we have 1 280 members in our branch that would require half that number, plus one to quorate. At the branch general meeting that elected delegates to Mangaung, there were less than 100 people."

The court found that it had to rely on the Plascon Evans precedent when adjudicating the case. Evans essentially stated that if there was a dispute of facts, the court should decide the matter by "accepting as correct" the contents of the opposing affidavit.

In several instances the court found that the ANC leadership's: "bare denials … do not rise to the level of dispute of facts. The denials are generic and were made and directed at disputing the appellants' categories of irregularities and the legal conclusion that the provincial conference was tainted with irregularities. These denials are not directed at facts that support the classes of irregularities."

Niren Tolsi
Niren Tolsi

Niren Tolsi is a freelance journalist.

His areas of interest include social justice; citizen mobilisation and state violence; protest; the constitution and the constitutional court and football.

Advertisting

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Workers’ R60m ‘lost’ in banks scam

An asset manager, VBS Mutual Bank and a Namibian bank have put the retirement funds of 26 000 municipal workers in South Africa at risk

‘Judge President Hlophe tried to influence allocation of judges to...

Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath accuses Hlophe of attempting to influence her to allocate the case to judges he perceived as ‘favourably disposed’ to former president Jacob Zuma

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is working to accommodate customers on its sister airlines after it cancelled flights due to low demand
Advertising

Press Releases

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.