Mopani results disputed

ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa's supporters who lost Limpopo's biggest region - Mopani - to Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma's backers, are taking legal action to force the party to rerun the conference.

They have unleashed legal bull-terrier advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi on ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe to force him to disband the newly-elected leadership, or face the law.

Ngcukaitobi wrote a letter to Mantashe on Thursday demanding that the outcome of the conference be set aside and the new leadership structure be disbanded and replaced with an interim one.

He also gave Mantashe an ultimatum to comply with the branches' demands within five working days, or meet him in the Limpopo High Court.

The new leadership, chaired by Ba-Phalaborwa municipality mayor Pule Shayi, was elected at its elective conference at Karibu Lodge, Tzaneen, a fortnight ago.

It would be a major blow for Dlamini-Zuma if Mantashe complies with the branches' demands because the winners support her bid to take over from Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC in December.

Ngcukaitobi confirmed that he was instructed by the branches to challenge the legitimacy of the conference.

Mantashe said the aggrieved branches should have started by appealing the outcome of the conference before making legal threats.

"You don't go to the lawyers before you appeal. They [branches] didn't send the letter to me, they sent the letter to you," he said.

A senior ANC member in the region said they have taken legal action because 14 branches, which were branded fraudulent by Mantashe, were allowed to participate in the conference by NEC member Ruth Bhengu, who was deployed to keep an eye on the proceedings.

"We asked her why she allowed these branches to participate in the conference and she said there was a political solution to allow them to do so."

The member said they decided to resort to the courts after learning that the faction supporting Shayi was planning to purge chief whips and council speakers who opposed them.

But this claim was dismissed by another senior member as sour grapes.

"These guys are bitter losers," said the member.

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