ANC secretary general Ace Magashule has asked party members to put aside differences — which came to the fore in the lead-up to the party’s 2017 elective conference — urging unity to ensure victory in the 2019 national general election.
Magashule also called upon ANC branches to consider charging rogue members who take the ANC to court to settle internal disputes.
He was speaking to delegates at the ANC’s Limpopo elective conference in Polokwane, where he emphasised the need to maintain unity to inspire confidence among the South African public.
“Forget about our differences, forget about our preferences, forget a little bit about Nasrec [national conference]. Think about the ANC and the need for the ANC to win the coming general elections,” Magashule said.
“It is not only the card-carrying members of the ANC who are important. Because members of the ANC are not [the majority] voters in South Africa. The voters are important. And when we are united they can see.”
The conference got off to a slow start on Friday due to lengthily registration delays that saw the programme only beginning hours after its scheduled time.
While the programme resumed normally on Saturday morning, it still faces the risk of interdiction by a group of disgruntled members who are questioning the mandate of the provincial elective committee (PEC), which is running the gathering.
The group headed to the Johannesburg high court to stop the weekend’s proceedings in an effort to compel the ANC to appoint a provincial task team and hold a new process of branch nominations.
The party’s national executive committee (NEC) however has denounced members who turn to the courts to seek resolution for internal party matters.
Speaking to delegates at the Ranch Hotel in Polokwane, Magashule said it was time the party consider taking punitive action against those who relied on courts.
“Why don’t we charge these people? Why don’t we go back to court and ask who has funded them? We can differ and even when we differ, there is no need to divide the ANC,” he said.
“It can’t be all about you. One individual who is so angry. One individual who feels so important that the conference must not go on because of you. Why are you so special?” he added.
Meanwhile in court Advocate Dali Mpofu — who is representing the disgruntled members — said the applicants had exhausted all internal remedies, including meeting the NEC on two separate occasions, without success.
Mpofu believes the fact that the national executive committee (NEC) had taken a decision on Monday to allow the conference to resume despite objections raised before, showed that there was no possibility of the matter being resolved internally.