Legality of 2015 O R Tambo region election under fire
ACOURT move to block the ANC’s provincial elective conference later this month is being threatened by the lawyers of two O R Tambo ANC members.
The threat came after the Mthatha High Court postponed its hearing into a challenge by Bandile Ntamo and Mlandeli Ndabetha of the legality of the 2015 O R Tambo regional elective conference in which current chairman Xolile Nkompela won by two votes against Thandekile Sabisa.
The two filed their court challenge in April but the ANC failed to submit an answering affidavit.
Now, however, that matter is threatening to stall the already delayed provincial conference, and the ANC asked the court yesterday for an opportunity to apply for leave of condonation for the late filing of an answering affidavit.
Ntamo and Ndabetha’s counsels, advocate Phil Zilwa SC, and advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza SC, were at pains yesterday to convince presiding judge Sytze Alkema not to grant leave for the application, stating that the ANC had waited for more than five months before filing an answering affidavit.
The two senior counsels saw the ANC’s move as a delaying tactic as the applicants have asked for the matter to be heard and finalised before the provincial conference sits next week.
The ANC’s legal team was led by advocate Richard Quinn, SC.
Addressing the media after the court hearing, Ntamo’s instructing attorney Mvuzo Notyesi said his new instructions were to approach the high court and request it to prevent the provincial conference from sitting pending the finalisation of their case.
“The court proceedings have a bearing on the upcoming conferences of the ANC starting from the province.
“I can therefore confirm to you that starting from Monday we will be launching an application to interdict the provincial conference itself pending the conclusion of these proceedings. Those are the instructions I have now,” Notyesi said.
He said that they would be launching the application as they see that proceedings are being delayed.
“If these current proceedings are not concluded now, the chances are that those REC [regional executive committee] members whose status is being questioned will be accredited as delegates in the provincial conference, and they are not supposed to be until their status is clarified,” said Notyesi.
Alternatively, the OR Tambo regional executive must all forego the provincial conference, he said.
ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane, who also attended the court hearing yesterday, said he had heard that some people were looking at interdicting the provincial conference but he believed they didn’t have a leg to stand on.
“This is a conference of ANC branches, and it will go ahead as planned. This is not a conference of the regional executive, but of the branches. From the REC there will be only two or three delegates,” he said.
Quinn earlier raised an objection calling for a joinder (union) of all the executive members of the ANC.
But Judge Alkema ruled against that, saying all the executive members were ANC members and the respondent was the ANC.