The ANC’s branch general meetings held in the Free State to nominate new national leaders have been declared unlawful, irregular and unconstitutional by the Bloemfontein high court.
On Wednesday the court found that several BGMs in all four of the province’s regions were not held in accordance with the ANC’s constitution.
This means that Friday’s scheduled provincial conference would be a “nullity” if it went ahead.
“The provincial conference of ANC Free State scheduled for 1 to 3 December 2017 will be a nullity and cannot be held until the fore said meetings have been held in a lawful manner and in accordance with the constitution of the ANC,” the majority judgement by two out of three judges read.
On Tuesday, the Free State ANC convened a provincial general council where it nominated Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over from president Jacob Zuma as party leader. Out of 307 delegates, 209 nominated Dlamini-Zuma and 44 Ramaphosa.
The gathering was boycotted by 104 delegates, who are believed to be supporting ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign to be elected the next president of the party. Among those who boycotted the gathering was the ANC Free State deputy chairperson Thabo Manyoni, who is expected to challenge incumbent chairperson Ace Magashule at the conference.
The judgement renders the PGC’s decisions null and void, as the branches who took part in the meeting were being disputed in the court case. The Free State ANC now risks being prevented from voting at the ANC’s December conference, as it was in 2012, because the BGMs rendered unlawful were also where branches elected delegates to the national gathering.
The case was brought by disgruntled ANC Free State member Lefa Mifi and is understood to be backed by senior leaders in the province.
Immediately after the judgement, ANC Free State spokesperson Thabo Meeko said the province would seek to rerun the BGMs that were nullified by the court judgement before conference begins on Friday.