Strife: Free State ANC chairman Ace Magashule will not lead the provincial delegation to the party’s elective conference if a group of ANC members succeed in their high court bid. Picture: SUPPLIED
Strife: Free State ANC chairman Ace Magashule will not lead the provincial delegation to the party’s elective conference if a group of ANC members succeed in their high court bid. Picture: SUPPLIED

A group of ANC Free State supporters of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is approaching the High Court in Bloemfontein in a bid to stop the province’s 409 delegates attending the national elective conference.

The move comes after the leadership, under Free State chairman Ace Magashule, went ahead with its provincial elective conference in Parys.

If the group succeeds in its application, the ANC’s fifth-biggest province, which is supporting Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, will not be represented at Nasrec when the conference starts on Saturday.

The lawyer for the group, Hanno Bekker, said the court application would be lodged first thing on Tuesday morning.

The group is asking for the matter to be heard on Thursday just two days before the national elective conference gets under way in Nasrec, Soweto. It also wants the court to nullify the outcomes of the Free State conference, which was expected to end on Monday.

"The plan of action is to bring a court application to nullify the conference along with the PGC [provincial general council] and then also a contempt of court order," Bekker said.

About a third of the Free State branches claimed that their branch general meetings did not follow procedure as dictated by protocol, he said.

"So what we are saying is that if a third of the branches are complaining, what is the chance that the rest were also unconstitutionally run? Therefore the delegates have been unconstitutionally selected and they cannot go to [the national] conference."

Insiders in the Free State, aligned to provincial deputy chairman Thabo Manyoni, said the conference did not have the backing of Luthuli House and the national executive committee deployees who attended the just ended PGC were not authorised to do so, a statement denied by ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa.

He said Energy Minister David Mahlobo addressed the provincial conference on Sunday evening on behalf of the national executive committee.

"The conference was sanctioned…. The reports we have is that out of the 29 branches ordered to rerun, only one was not able to meet the quorum," Kodwa said.

The group that has gone to court are supporters of Manyoni, who was expected to take Magashule on for the position of chairman.

However, Manyoni and his supporters have boycotted the conference.

After the branch nominations and the PGC, the Free State threw its weight behind Dlamini-Zuma. It also backed Magashule to run as secretary-general of the ANC.

The Free State elective conference has already been postponed twice because of a court order to rerun unlawful, irregular and unconstitutional branch general meetings.

The provincial executive committee was initially ordered by the High Court in Bloemfontein to hold the provincial conference from December 1-3, but the conference was interdicted by another court order last week after ANC members raised issue with 29 branch general meetings in four regions of the province.

quintalg@businesslive.co.za

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