Court battle in Limpopo not over for ANC
Turmoil deepens in the governing party’s provincial structures as a fresh court challenge emerges
The ANC’s Limpopo conference faces a second court challenge, for legitimacy, despite earlier litigation being struck off the roll by the High Court in Pretoria at the weekend.
This would make it the fourth successive ANC provincial conference to be challenged in court. ANC provincial structures have been in turmoil since before the party’s national elective conference in December.
Last week, a group of disgruntled ANC members in the Free State approached the High Court in Bloemfontein to nullify the province’s elective conference in May.
The matter is expected to be heard on July 9.
Meanwhile, the party’s KwaZulu-Natal elective conference was interdicted from going ahead by the High Court in Pietermaritzburg. It nullified the 2015 conference in 2017.
Another group in the Eastern Cape approached the High Court in Johannesburg to order the implementation of a report about the 2017 provincial conference. This conference turned violent and some delegates walked out, though the leadership was elected.
A team led by ANC national executive committee member Sbu Ndebele recommended that the provincial executive committee elected at the conference be suspended and an interim structure be appointed. Judgment was reserved.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said the challenges the ANC was facing in its structures were a reflection of the erosion of internal democracy, unity and discipline that had been festering for years and had become a monster. He said winning ANC leadership positions and deployments had become the most prized possession. For some, their only source of livelihood came from the ANC.
"Because our economy has not been growing and absorbing people — those seeking to start businesses and those seeking jobs — [this] has left politics as the last resort for many people," he said.
"Leadership qualities are no longer just measured in terms of their positive attributes. It could be gate-keeping, thuggery, violence, it could be anything you could think of. It’s not about understanding how to serve people or your vision."
The ANC’s Limpopo conference at the weekend came close to being halted after a group of disgruntled branch members approached the court as a matter of urgency. The application was struck off the roll on the grounds that it was not urgent.
The conference was allowed to go ahead and a new provincial leadership was elected. Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha was re-elected unopposed as chairman. Florence Radzilani and Basikopo Makamu were elected as his deputies, Soviet Lekganyane as secretary and Danny Msiza as treasurer.
Attorney Tumi Mokwena, for the group, said his clients would in all likelihood now approach the court to have the conference nullified and would meet their lawyers this week.