Bid to delay indaba flayed

UNSUCCESSFUL: Votani Majola at the Johannesburg high court yesterday. © Unknown.
UNSUCCESSFUL: Votani Majola at the Johannesburg high court yesterday. © Unknown.

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

Votani Majola, the lawyer who unsuccessfully lodged an application for the postponement of the ANC national conference, is a colourful character.

In some quarters, Majola has been described as a self-styled champion of the poor.

He acquired this monicker through his work as legal representative of inner city dwellers facing eviction from illegally occupied buildings.

This saw him having running legal battles with council officials who wanted to evict the illegal tenants from the buildings. Majola's argument was that abandoned buildings must be handed over to the tenants.

However, some city officials have accused him of being an unscrupulous operator who was making money out of the miseries of the homeless. His retort has been that those accusing him of being an operator were not happy with the fact that he was fighting for the rights of the poor.

The University of Natal law graduate has previously represented former ANC Women's League president Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Majola is treasurer of the ANC Sandton branch. Yesterday, branch chairman Laurence Khoza distanced his constituency from Majola's move.

"We were surprised to see the reports in the papers this morning that he intends lodging such an application. As a branch, we do not think there is a need for the conference to be postponed," said Khoza.

Other members of the Sandton branch include business mogul Cyril Ramaphosa, SABC group CEO Dali Mpofu, ANC head of the Presidency Smuts Ngonyama and Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Yesterday, political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi said a postponement would benefit neither ANC president Thabo Mbeki's nor his deputy Jacob Zuma's camps.

"A postponement could lead to the Zuma campaign losing momentum, while Mbeki's camp could also end up losing more supporters," said Matshiqi.