Legality of FS elective conference questioned in court

ANC supporters outside the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein yesterday. PHOTO: LUCKY NKUYANE

The four disgruntled members of the ANC in the Free State, who approached the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein in November 2018 to challenge the legality of their party’s provincial elective conference that took place in May last year, are hopeful that the court will rule in their favour following court sitting yesterday.
Spokesperson for the applicants, Monnapula Ntamo, told Bloemfontein Courant they are pleased with how their legal team presented the heads of argument in the High Court in Bloemfontein on Thursday and they are confident they will emerge victorious.
The four, Matshepo Ramakatsa, Lebeko Maile, Themba Mvandaba and Shashapa Motaung, represented by Advocates Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, allege that the conference took place without proper audits of branches being done and in the absence of elected delegates from branches.
The applicants further argued that the latter is in fact a contravention of a November 2017 High Court ruling which determined that 28 Branch General Meetings (BGMs) in the province had to be rerun in a lawful manner per the ANC constitution before the provincial elective conference could take place.
The ANC provincial and national leadership, represented by Advocates William Mokhari and Ishmael Semenya, argued that they were not in contravention of the November 2017 court order, because they ended up rerunning those BGMs as was instructed.
They used a December 15 High Court judgment – a day before Nasrec was set to take place – to support their assertion. This judgment indicated that of the 28 BGMs that were rerun, 14 were done so successfully.
Mokhari explained that before the provincial conference took place in May 2018, five of the BGMs were rerun successfully, while nine were not. This means that at the time the questioned conference took place at least 90% of the BGMs were rerun successfully.
However, Mpofu rejected the court argument by the defense suggesting that subsequent to a 90% successful rerun of elections of branches it then constitute that the party’s constitution was enforced correctly.
He said instead what this did is to taint the process and the matter must be approached holistically as it does affect those who were deemed not fit to attend the May 2018 elections.
He says the court should not look away from the fact the party has overlooked the 9 months rule after a court ruled that the ANC undertake a re-run of BGMs..
Judge, Fouche’ Jordaan, has reserved judgement and the verdict is expected to be handed down soon. – Lucky Nkuyane