South Africa

ROAD TO DECEMBER 2022

ANC North West elective conference to go ahead after court bars Interim Provincial Committee from voting

ANC North West elective conference to go ahead after court bars Interim Provincial Committee from voting
Hlomane Chauke IPC Co-ordinate and ANC Spokesperson Kenny Morolong at the media conference in Rustenburg Civic Centre,North West, 12 August 2022 Photo:Supplied

The widely anticipated provincial conference of the ANC in North West is off on a shaky start after the Mafikeng High Court ruled in favour of a disgruntled party member who launched an urgent court interdict to prevent members of the Interim Provincial Committee (IPC) from voting at the conference, scheduled to officially start on Saturday

The aggrieved member, Tshepo Bosman, had argued that the structure is unconstitutional as its term of office ended three years ago.     

The IPC was formed by the ANC’s highest decision making body, National Executive Committee (NEC) in 2018. 

The court on Friday night ruled that, “it is declared that the first respondent (IPC) does not have the voting powers in the ANC Provincial Conference from 12-14 August 2022”.

The 22 respondents cited in the application include members of the IPC and the ANC nationally, and were ordered to pay the costs of the urgent interdict.  

Some insiders have argued that the ruling has no bearing on the conference but it remains to be seen if they will appeal the outcome as it affects the number of eligible voting delegates.   

ANC’s national spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party had noted the court’s decision which prohibits members of the IPC from voting in the conference.  

“We have instructed our legal team to investigate options at our disposal to deal with this matter and advise the NEC accordingly, we are hopeful that our intervention will find a positive outcome.”  

Mabe further said despite the decision, the conference is continuing because the court did not interdict the conference but rather the voting powers of the IPC members. 

In a state of readiness briefing on Friday evening, before the court’s decision was announced, IPC coordinator Hlomane Chauke had poured cold water on the court action and dubbed it a “non-starter”.  

“There are no issues. We believe very strongly that there will be no pickets, someone will have to give us a reason on why they are picketing because those postponements of the conference were meant to accommodate everyone as part of our renewal and rebuilding process.”  

The conference has been postponed more than three times already due to internal disputes including allegations of rigging, sabotage and factionalism.

Some branches have in the past taken to the ANC’s national headquarters in Luthuli House to air their grievances.  

Chauke however moved to assure journalists that all disputes had been dealt with.  

“We have ensured that our provincial conference does not convene with disputes and appeals unresolved. The Provincial and National Dispute Resolution Committees have concluded all related dispute resolution processes and this conference will convene without any of the disputes or appeals unresolved,” he said.  

On Friday, there was a high presence of police in and around the vicinity of the Rustenburg Civic centre. Chauke however said there was nothing untoward about this as the province had tried to minimize all possible risk, this including possible protests.

Deputy president David Mabuza is expected to open the conference on Saturday morning, with more than 1200 delegates expected, less than 800 of whom will have voting rights. It is still unclear if president Cyril Ramaphosa will close the conference on Sunday. 

Positions 

The position of provincial chairperson is expected to be hotly contested, with more than five candidates expected to compete for the top position, current premier and ANC stalwart Bushy Maape among them. Economic Development MEC Kenetswe Mosengi, former MEC for Human Settlements Nono Maloyi, who faces a charge of culpable homicide, and former provincial chairperson Supra Mahumapelo are also among those expected to raise their hands. 

Provincial spokesperson, Kenny Morolong said the interest in the contest for chairperson was not indicative of factionalism but was rather healthy for democracy. 

Reflecting on the strides made by the IPC, Morolong hailed the interim structure members for their ability to get rid of factions, also known as slates, and rebuilding branches from scratch. 

Governance

The entire North West provincial government was in 2018 put under the administration of the national government. At the time, it was grappling with instability and the lack of service delivery. Chauke lauded the intervention which was ordered by Ramaphosa. 

Auditor general Tsakani Mabuda earlier this month revealed that audit outcomes revealed that the municipalities in the province have remained largely stagnant over the last five years. None of the 22 municipalities in the province received a clean audit in the Auditor-General’s latest outcomes.    

Audits in North West reflect ‘a worsening culture of (un)accountability in the province’

Responding to a question on the state of governance, Chauke revealed that the IPC sometimes faced resistance from the ANC members the party had deployed in government, particularly from those who “want to put their hands into the cookie jar and steal from the public. Corruption is still one of those things that we are worried about”.  

The DA’s Gavin Edwards lamented the ANC members’ choice to abandon critical work in the legislature, claiming that the work of the legislature had been brought to a standstill since Wednesday.

“Over these two days, the crucial work of the Legislature had to take a backseat. Oversight on governance is simply impossible. This is because of the factional battles playing out towards the ANC’s North West provincial conference scheduled to take place in Rustenburg from today,” he said. DM

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