Free State ANC says conference continues, despite court action


BLOEMFONTEIN, December 11 – The African National Congress (ANC) Free State elective conference held in Parys is set to continue on Monday despite another court action by disgruntled members who want the conference nullified.

The provincial leaders were not aware of the latest court application in the Bloemfontein High Court set to be heard this week, party spokesman Thabo Meeko told reporters in Parys on Monday.

“We are not aware of any court case against us…we do not have a standpoint until our lawyers tell us there is something put on the table..we are in conference and it continues.”

He said he was not aware that provincial chairman Ace Magashule’s deputy, Thabo Manyoni had boycotted the conference along with several others who mainly support deputy ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from President Jacob Zuma at the Nasrec national conference later this month.

There was no apology received from Manyoni, he said.

“What we can confirm is that the deputy chairman was part of the provincial executive committee that took a decision that as a result of the high court case [which ruled two weeks ago that conference cannot take place until 29 branches are reconvened] the conference would not proceed as planned and has been reconvened to sit as from yesterday [Sunday],” he said.

“I do not foresee credentials process detailing those who are said to be boycotting the conference. We do not know of anyone boycotting this conference, delegates who are supposed to be here are here…all delegates, both for NDZ (Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) and CR (Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa) are here and all will be allowed to interrogate credentials and other issues.”

The disgruntled members are adamant that the PEC did not comply with the high court order, and that disputes arose at the branches and were never addressed ahead of the provincial conference.

Magashule’s ally turned foe, Manyoni, led the disgruntled group to court a few weeks ago arguing that the provincial executive committee (PEC) did not have the authority to take decisions as their leadership term had lapsed in May.

The group requested the NEC to appoint an interim team to lead the province until the December national conference.

The high court ruled in their favour two weeks ago and instructed that the 29 branches it found had been illegally constituted, be reconvened before the conference. Meeko said the provincial leadership has complied with the court order and had reconvened the 29 branches.

The Free State conference had been postponed several times before due to continuing internal battles. The gathering was delayed for hours on Sunday and only commenced late afternoon. Delegates spent the day singing revolutionary songs and pro-Dlamini-Zuma slogans. Magashule is the longest serving ANC provincial chairman since 1994.

He is expected to be re-elected uncontested at the Parys conference. The Free State has rallied behind Nkosazana-Zuma ahead of the national conference.

– African News Agency (ANA)