Court rules North West PEC must be reinstated

The Johannesburg high court has ruled that the dissolution of the North West’s ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) was procedurally unfair and in contravention of the party’s constitution.

On Wednesday, Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane handed down a judgment which ordered the ANC to reinstate the disbanded PEC within two days.

The high court found that the consultative process in the lead-up to the disbandment of the PEC in 2018 was not compliant with the ANC’s procedures and thus “fatal”.

The judgment calls the so-called consultative process with the affected branches “shambolic and chaotic and rowdy”.

Judge Kathree-Setiloane called the dissolution of the PEC a “drastic and draconian measure”.

In August last year, the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) confirmed the disbandment of the North West PEC, following a crisis in the province.

In November,  former Premier Supra Mahumapelo, along with other disgruntled ANC members, approached the high court in an urgent bid to have the ANC NEC decision to strip him and the provincial executive of their powers overturned.

The matter was dismissed on the basis of a lack of urgency. But Judge Seun Moshidi nevertheless observed the case as a matter of national significance.

He has maintained that his downfall was linked to a purge in the party following the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president at the 2017 national conference. Ramaphosa narrowly won the vote against Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.

Following the judgment, Mahumapelo said, despite celebrations in the courtroom, he was “not elated” by the decision, because they should never have had to seek court action in the first place.

Speaking about the alleged factionalism in the ANC, Mahumapelo said that members have to recognise political differences as a strength rather than a threat to unity.

Despite being plagued by a number of scandals — including state capture allegations and reports that he was behind the province’s municipalities illegally investing R314-million with the collapsed VBS Mutual Bank — Mahumapelo has still secured a provisional place on the ANC’s draft parliamentary list.

On Wednesday, Mahumapelo said he was not concerned about whether the ANC would welcome his reinstatement. “I am never worried about anything. I have passed the stage of anxiety,” he said.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the Johannesburg high court had ordered that Supra Mahumapelo be reinstated as North West Premier. This article has been amended to reflect the correction of this error.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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