Court cases won't affect ANC national conference‚ says Mantashe

The ANC says there were no discussions on removing Gwede Mantashe at NEC meeting.
Gwede Mantashe The ANC says there were no discussions on removing Gwede Mantashe at NEC meeting.
Image: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE/The Times

The ANC on Friday said the outcomes of a North West court case that nullified the Bojanala regional conference would have no bearing on the upcoming national conference.

"The beauty of it is that the branch general meetings of the national conference were organised separately (from the regional ones)‚" said secretary general Gwede Mantashe.

The party was yet to study the judgment but believed it did not say anything about the affected members being barred from participating in the national conference. "The judiciary can't prohibit the attendance of members‚" Mantashe said.

Mantashe was speaking in Nasrec in Johannesburg on the eve of the national conference‚ where party members are to elect a new party leadership.

The ANC has been embroiled in court cases ahead of the conference‚ with some members wanting the courts to set aside the regional meeting outcomes‚ citing procedural irregularities.

In Bojanala‚ former regional secretary Tokyo Mataboge and 39 others had approached the court‚ seeking an order to set aside the branch general meeting of 40 branches and nullify the regional conference of September 24‚ 2017. They alleged that at least 40 branches were not constitutionally launched. Furthermore over 70 signatures were forged. The ANC North West provincial executive committee (PEC) and the ANC national executive committee (NEC) wanted the court to dismiss the review application.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi‚ for the ANC PEC and NEC‚ argued that the irregularities at branches do not affect the regional conference.

Mantashe said they were not fazed by the court cases.

"It is not bad that there is a judiciary to address the party members' concerns‚" Mantashe said.

He said the credentials of all those in attendance would not be questionable‚ stressing that the regions had no voting rights in the conference but were instead awarded observer seats.

ANC presidential candidate Mathews Phosa had headed to the High Court in Johannesburg to argue that the Mpumalanga candidates had expressed they would be voting for "unity" in the upcoming conference. They had failed to outwardly state which candidate they would be backing.

Phosa withdrew his legal bid at the 11th hour‚ with his lawyers telling the court that last-minute meetings with the ANC had resulted in them deciding to resolve the issue internally.

Addressing this court case‚ Mantashe said there was "nobody called unity". "There will be no unity on the ballot paper‚ so we don't know what will happen to a non-existent member‚" he added.

Mantashe expressed confidence that the conference would proceed smoothly. He quashed media reports of disgruntled members who were reportedly planning to disrupt the proceedings‚ saying there was strong security in place.

The conference kicks off on Saturday‚ with scores of delegates from all over the country set to arrive. Foreign diplomats are also expected at the conference. Mantashe said they had "invited parties which were friendly to us". The new party leadership is expected to be announced by Sunday evening following a round of voting.

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