South Africa

ROAD TO ELECTIVE CONFERENCE

ANC Eastern Cape Rubusana region takes party to court over ‘illegitimate’ members

ANC Eastern Cape Rubusana region takes party to court over ‘illegitimate’ members
From left: Eastern Cape provincial task team convener Oscar Mabuyane (Photo: Gallo Images / The Times / Masi Losi) | MEC Babalo Madikizela. (Photo: Facebook)

Despite assurances from senior party members that disputes have been handled accordingly, the ANC’s Rubusana region is still dissatisfied and has headed to court to air their grievances.

The ANC Eastern Cape conference has got off to a rocky start with the Dr WB Rubusana region sending a legal letter to the party regarding their urgent application to the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court, in East London.

The courts have granted ANC members of the region urgency for their bid to prove that branches were manipulated and should, therefore, not be allowed to participate in the conference. The group believes that delegates from the region should not be allowed to vote because some of its members who have been given voting rights are not legitimate branch members. 

The group is represented by Ngcelwane Attorneys and is aligned to Eastern Cape provincial task team convener Oscar Mabuyane’s biggest competitor Babalo Madikizela.

In a letter that Daily Maverick has seen, the region argues that the said manipulation has had a material bearing on the status of the branches.

“We herewith confirm that we act on behalf of various African National Congress members in the Dr. WB Rubusana metro region…We advise that we have approached the East London High Court on urgent basis pursuant to the correspondence we wrote to your office on the 4th of May 2022. 

“The application is with regards to the participation of the branches which had been manipulated, participating in the upcoming provincial conference. It is of paramount importance to note that there is a court order to this effect and the office of the secretary- general had previously accepted that manipulation,” the letter reads.

The court order states that the ANC submit their answering papers by 4pm on Saturday and the matter be heard by 5pm or soon thereafter. 

Earlier this week, courts pronounced that the Dr WB Rubusana regional conference, which was scheduled to begin on 8 April, is interdicted pending the finalisation of all internal appeals processes. This was a victory for the Madikizela lobby group and meant the regional conference would only take place after the province elects its leadership.

There have been a number of meetings leading up to this conference, mainly to deal with disputes as a means to avoid litigation.

Speaking during a press briefing on Saturday morning, Eastern Cape co- ordinator Lulama Ngcukayitobi said the provincial and national dispute resolution committees had spent much of Friday night ironing all disputes. 

The Provincial Task Team further finalised the details of the conference on Saturday morning. 

At least 1500 delegates are expected to vote in the highly contested Eastern Cape conference, 40 of which will be from the Rubusana region. In a bid to handle any disputes, the party had decided to quarantine illegitimate branches in both Rubusana and Chris Hani. 

“Last night they had their own meeting from noon to  midnight, so all matters pertaining to the disputes were dealt with. The last branches to run did that last night.

“Many will be asking whether Rubusana and Chris Hani districts will participate. Indeed all eligible branches will be participating in the conference. The national dispute resolution committee and provincial dispute resolution committee was infused to make determinations of these particular branches, as a consequence of that Rubusana has 40 branches that will be fully participating and Chris Hani will be having 97 branches,” Ngcukayitobi said. 

ANC national executive committee deployee in the Eastern Cape Aaron Motsoaledi did, however acknowledge that the possibility that there would be legal action is high.

He said that the party was trying to do everything by the book, however if there is litigation, the party will deal with it accordingly. 

By the time of writing Motsoaledi said the party had not been informed of the legal action. Despite the court action, the conference proceeds.DM

 

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