Several ANC Free State branches have been barred by the High Court in Bloemfontein from attending the national elective conference.
This comes after the court declared the party’s provincial conference null and void. The High Court also ruled that the elective conference in Free State and its resolutions are unlawful. In other words, the provincial executive committee (PEC) that was elected at that conference would not be able to attend the national conference in that capacity.
Notwithstanding the ruling, the court has allowed branches whose meetings were not in dispute to attend the conference.
Some disgruntled ANC Free State members brought the application, seeking to both nullify the provincial congress as well as stop the province’s delegates from participating in the upcoming national elective congress this weekend.
“We are of the view that granting an order of that nature will deny delegates of lawful constituted branch general meetings of the right to participate in the national conference and this will violate their constitutional right,” the judgment read.
Last week, the court had ruled that the ANC Free State elective conference, scheduled to take place on Friday, cannot go ahead until branch general meetings which have been declared unlawful and irregular are held in a lawful manner. All 29 branch general meetings had to be rerun for the elective conference to be lawful.
While the re-elected ANC Free State chairperson Ace Magashule said the provincial executive had complied with the court order, attorney Hanno Bekker, who represents the disgruntled members, said on Monday “There were 29 branches initially, but now more have come forward.”
Bekker added that 32% of the branches in the province had raised disputes.
Ahead of the much-anticipated ANC National Conference, court battles have become the order of the day in most provinces.
On Friday, Judge Rishi Seegobin effectively ruled that the Kwazulu-Natal PEC would remain dissolved, pending the outcome of its appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal and any subsequent appeal to the Constitutional Court.
This spells doom for presidential hopeful Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who has the support of the PEC as she stands to lose the PEC’s 27 voting rights allocated to each province for the ANC’s national elective conference.
The KZN committee members can only attend the conference as observers or as branch delegates if elected by their branches to represent them at the conference.