The ANC is within its rights to defend itself from members that have nefarious intentions, Energy Minister and member of the party’s national executive committee David Mahlobo said.
Speaking to the media on Monday evening following the election of the Free State ANC’s provincial executive committee, Mahlobo said he was satisfied that the conference went off peacefully.
He and re-elected provincial secretary William Bulwane confirmed that papers for a case to nullify the conference had been served during the day.
The application also sought to prevent Free State delegates from attending the national elective conference at the weekend.
Proceedings at the conference halted as both national and provincial leaders held meetings to discuss the matter.
Only chairperson in the province
Representatives from Moroka Attorneys who act on behalf of the party were also seen at the conference.
“We are not going to leave any stone unturned on Thursday. We are going to defend the revolution, the gains of the ANC. We will be there to defend the ANC,” said Bulwane confirming that the matter was set to be heard on Thursday in the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein.
Ace Magashule, the only chairperson the province has known since even before the dawn of democracy, was re-elected to serve once again.
However, Magashule might have to resign from the position if he is elected the next secretary general of the ANC during the national elective conference.
Bulwane said the province was not worried about losing its leader.
“The ANC – we are an organisation very rich in leadership, [there is] no crisis if one leader goes anywhere and the remaining leaders deal with issues of the court,” he said.
Bulwane added that the province would deal with the issue once it arises.
Mahlobo said: “It’s now common cause that there are certain individuals who have pronounced that they have intentions to challenge this provincial congress.”
He then complained that matters were initially raised with the media, outside of the party.
“You can see the intentions are being made to annul this process but also attempts are being made to bar the province of the Free State from attending national conference,” he said.
Mahlobo said although the province’s PEC was cited in the legal papers, so too was the ANC.
“We must be able to reiterate our position, that we frown upon members of the ANC whose first point of call is to resolve internal matters through the courts.”
He said the doors in the party were always open.
Mahlobo said the NEC had done all it could to listen to grievances throughout the period leading up to the ANC’s congress.
Delegates were separated during the election period at the provincial congress. Mahlobo said this was done in order to make sure processes were “clinical”.
The application revolves around delegates represented what Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba told the conference were 28 of the 29 branches affected by a court ruling that the congress could not sit until their branch general meetings had been rerun.
Mahlobo said the legal papers served on the party showed that there were issues around those branches.
“Their participation is going to be clearly sanitised so if there are issues we are going to discuss in court… I won’t be [able] to discuss the strategy we are going to use in court,” he said refusing to divulge more information.
“Taking the ANC to court is not new, others have raised issues with the ANC but others have nefarious intentions to actually disrupt the functioning of the organisation and not accepting organisational processes.”
One NEC member added: “The ANC within its right to defend its own actions.”