The African National Congress (ANC) in Gauteng is expected to make public its response to a damning ruling by the Johannesburg High Court that uncovered traces of factionalism in last year’s Ekurhuleni regional conference, which has since been declared invalid and set aside.
ANC provincial spokesperson Lesego Makhubela told African Times that the provincial executive committee (PEC) would meet to chart a way forward.
“The PEC will have a meeting today (July 18) to make a determination on the matter and we will communicate after the meeting,” said Makhubela.
The Ekurhuleni regional conference was held at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways from 27 to 29 May 2022. The applicants challenged the outcomes of the conference based on a number of issues, including the disqualification of branches a week before the elections, and the withholding of votes from branches appealing unfair decisions.
According to the presiding officer in the case, Judge Denise Fischer, the outgoing regional executive committee (REC) had been led by current ANC provincial secretary Thembinkosi Nciza, who was interested in the conference’s outcome.
“Nciza is an important protagonist in this case. He was, and still is, a powerful figure in the ANC. He was appointed the coordinator of the regional task team (RTT) and a member of the regional dispute resolution committee (RDRC) under the guidelines. He was also standing for election at the conference for the position of regional secretary and at the provincial conference as provincial secretary,” Fischer said in her judgement.
She added: “There had been complaints from provincial office bearers that the RDRC was constituted by members of a faction which included Nciza and that it was thus a biased appeal structure. There is a further issue raised, being that Nciza attempted to create confusion as to the applicable guidelines.”
The court accepted that the ANC denied the factionalism allegations raised by the applicants, but questioned the manner in which biennial branch general meetings (BBGMs) had been managed.
“The RTT, being set up by the NEC to fill the lacuna left by the expiry of the term of the REC, was thus not a body which would ordinarily prepare for the regional conference. It is not entirely clear what its powers and functions are. There can be no doubt however that it was required to act with procedural and substantive fairness,” she said.
The current deputy secretary of the ANC, Nomvula Mokonyane, has also been cited as having played a role in the regional conference while the current deputy president of the party, Paul Mashatile, was reprimanded for challenging the views of the applicants.
Fischer labelled the ANC’s answering affidavit as “bald and evasive.”
“The deponent to the affidavit filed for the ANC, Mr Paul Mashatile, the current Deputy President of South Africa, describes the founding affidavit as taking a scattergun approach. This description is not uncalled for.
“However, the salient facts emerge from the ANC’s own internal documentation. This takes the form of correspondence between the leaders and other protagonists in various structures, internal reports and memoranda, general notifications to members, and media statements,” she said.
The judge said she did not understand the ANC affidavits by Mashatile and Mokonyane to dispute any of the facts which arise from such documentation.
“On the contrary, the answering affidavit proceeds on the basis that these documents are indeed what they purport to be.”
In her order, Judge Fischer said she could not decide what should happen once the conference is declared invalid but rather left the matter to the ANC.
“Consequences will follow from the declaration of invalidity which, going forward, are best dealt with by the ANC itself in regulating its internal processes and/or by further resort to judicial intervention.
“In the circumstances, I make the following order: The Eighth Regional Conference of the Ekurhuleni Region of the African National Conference, and all decisions, resolutions, and election results emanating from the Conference are set aside. The first respondent (the ANC) is to pay the costs of the application,” Judge Fischer ruled.