Court sets aside PAC president’s decision to dissolve party structures
Judge finds that Narius Moloto ‘completely ignored’ NEC meeting, even though he had attended it
The Pretoria high court on Friday set aside Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) president Narius Moloto’s decision in June to dissolve the party’s structures.
On June 10 Moloto unilaterally issued a decree to dissolve the national, provincial and regional executive committees.
These are the latest fractures in the party that was formed in Soweto, Johannesburg, on April 6 1959 by late struggle stalwart Robert Sobukwe as a breakaway from the ANC.
The PAC was central in organising protests on March 21 1960 for the abolition of the pass laws. Sixty-nine people were massacred by apartheid-era police on that day in Sharpeville. The party — which boasted leading politicians such as Clarence Makwetu, Zeph Mothopeng, Johnson Mlambo, Patricia de Lille and Stanley Mogoba in its history — also had a military wing during the struggle for independence called the Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla).
Moloto relied on a clause in the PAC’s constitution that states the president has “emergency” powers to suspend the entire constitution of the PAC. The reason Moloto gave for invoking the clause was to ensure that the national congress of the party was properly convened.
Moloto removed all members of the national executive committee (NEC) who had been elected and he appointed his own office bearers. Moloto also decreed that the party’s national conference, which was to take place from August 29 to 31 in Bloemfontein, would now take place on August 24 in Marble Hall, Limpopo.
The dispute had its genesis on May 18 when the NEC met and agreed that the date of the national congress would be August 31 and the venue would be in Bloemfontein. The NEC meeting also agreed that all other administrative requirements of the congress would be attended to by secretary-general Apa Pooe, including logisitics.
On May 23, Pooe sent a letter to all branches communicating the decision of the NEC.
However, the national chair of the PAC, Phillip Dlamini, issued an internal eight-page memorandum on May 26 in which he took issue with Pooe’s letter.
Pooe responded to Dlamini’s concerns in a four-page reply on June 5.
Then on June 9, Moloto invoked the PAC’s constitution because the notice issued by Pooe had not been discussed by the NEC.
Following Moloto’s decree on June 10, Pooe — on behalf of the PAC — approached the court to set aside Moloto’s decisions.
Acting judge Anthony Millar on Friday said it was clear from Moloto’s letter of June 9 that the emergency he perceived arose from the belief that there had been no NEC meeting held.
“The NEC meeting held on May 18 2019 was completely ignored [by Moloto], even though he had attended it, and he proceeded on the basis that it had not taken place and that none of the resolutions passed at that meeting had any force or effect,” Millar said.
Millar said Pooe had acted in accordance with those resolutions and the mandate they gave him and proceeded to give notice for and arrange the national congress.
In his judgment, Millar said there was no “emergency” and no basis for invoking clause 14.2. “The decisions taken by the NEC on May 18 2019 were validly taken and stand. The decisions taken [by Moloto] from the time of the invocation of clause 14.2 where these are inconsistent with those resolutions are set aside,” Millar said.
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