ANC still tied up in fac­tion-driven court chal­lenges

Mail & Guardian - - News - Paddy Harper & Di­neo Bendile

Al­though the ANC has won some of its pro­vin­cial court bat­tles, it still faces sev­eral more as its top lead­er­ship con­tin­ues to re­solve the grid­lock caused by fac­tional con­flict in its lower struc­tures.

The gov­ern­ing party this week wel­comed the two high court judg­ments in its favour that killed off a chal­lenge to the out­come of its East­ern Cape pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence last year and gave the go-ahead for last week­end’s suc­cess­ful Lim­popo elec­tive meet­ing.

The party still faces high court chal­lenges from dis­grun­tled mem­bers in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, but it be­lieves its na­tional dis­pute res­o­lu­tion com­mit­tee (NDRC) will be able to re­solve the com­plaints of gate­keep­ing and mem­ber­ship fraud that are at the heart of the dis­putes in the two prov­inces.

On Mon­day, the Jo­han­nes­burg high court dis­missed an ap­pli­ca­tion by four ANC mem­bers from Port El­iz­a­beth to com­pel the party to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the com­mis­sion, headed by S’bu Nde­bele, that found the out­come of last year’s pro­vin­cial con­fer­ence to have been ir­reg­u­lar.

At the week­end, the high court in Jo­han­nes­burg also dis­missed, with costs, an ap­pli­ca­tion by three mem­bers from Lim­popo to have its con­fer­ence in­ter­dicted.

ANC spokesper­son Pule Mabe said the party was pleased with the two judg­ments, which “show that the mea­sures put in place … to al­low clear av­enues for ANC mem­bers to re­solve their dis­putes are work­ing”. Mabe said the NDRC had been able to “lis­ten to mem­bers and to find or­gan­i­sa­tional so­lu­tions” to the is­sues raised where re­gional and pro­vin­cial con­fer­ences were be­ing con­vened. He said 200 dis­putes had been re­solved by the NDRC in the run-up to the Lim­popo con­fer­ence.

The NDRC, led by ANC deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral Jessie Duarte, met the KwaZulu-Natal pro­vin­cial task team to re­solve the dis­putes that had led the branches from the Harry Gwala, Lower South Coast and Moses Mab­hida re­gions to go to court.

Mabe said the task team had in­di­cated it would seek an ear­lier court date than the July 27 re­turn date to fi­nalise the mat­ter ahead of the pro­vi­sional re­run, set for the end of July by the ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (NEC).

A task team mem­ber, who asked to re­main anony­mous, said the dis­putes lodged by the three KwaZulu-Natal re­gions had been dealt with by the NDRC. “The mat­ter is set to go back to court on July 27. We are not sure if there will be an ear­lier date. We have pro­cessed all the is­sues be­hind the in­ter­dict,” he said.

Mabe said prepa­ra­tions for the Gaut­eng pro­vin­cial and re­gional con­fer­ences were un­der way, and the NEC de­ploy­ees were con­sult­ing branches about their is­sues.

He said the ANC con­tin­ued to call on its mem­bers to use its in­ter­nal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion mech­a­nisms rather than going to the courts.

In Mpumalanga, ag­grieved mem­bers from the Nko­mazi re­gion who have threat­ened to take the party to court to force a pro­vin­cial gen­eral coun­cil meet­ing are wait­ing for the NDRC to re­spond to their let­ter sent to Luthuli House last week.

Ron­nie Malo­mane, the spokesper­son for the mem­bers of six branches, said they had re­ceived a copy of a let­ter from Duarte to act­ing chair­per­son Mandla Ndlovu, re­quest­ing a full re­port from the prov­ince on what it had done to in­ves­ti­gate claims of mem­ber­ship fraud.

“We are ready to go to court if we do not re­ceive a pos­i­tive re­sponse,” Malo­mane said. “We have met with the NDRC and given them full in­for­ma­tion, but they are yet to act.”

In Lim­popo, the at­tempt by un­happy party mem­bers to in­ter­dict the prov­ince’s elec­tive con­fer­ence was struck off the roll. They ar­gued that the man­date of the com­mit­tee run­ning the con­fer­ence had lapsed, which brought into ques­tion the le­git­i­macy of the gath­er­ing.

Lim­popo pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary Soviet Lek­ganyane said the newly elected lead­er­ship would still make an ef­fort to find an am­i­ca­ble so­lu­tion with the dis­af­fected mem­bers, even though their ac­tion had been strongly con­demned by ANC sec­re­tary gen­eral Ace Ma­gashule.

Fight­ing on: Al­though some pro­vin­cial bat­tles have pe­tered out, oth­ers have yet to be re­solved. Photo: Gallo Images/Sowe­tan/An­to­nio Muchave

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