The Grahamstown High Court will decide on Tuesday next week whether or not to nullify the outcome of the ANC’s Eastern Cape provincial elective conference held in September.
That is just four days before the party’s national elective conference starts.
At issue is whether or not the provincial conference was legitimately convened in the first place‚ and whether – even if it was – it could lawfully have been allowed to continue after violence broke out and some 46% of the delegates withdrew.
Several ANC members from the OR Tambo‚ Joe Gqabi and Amathole regions are asking a full bench of the high court to set aside the election of the new provincial executive committee‚ including that of Oscar Mabuyane as provincial chairman.
Advocate Phillip Zilwa SC argued yesterday that the conference had been improperly constituted in the first place‚ and its outcomes should be set aside as a result.
He said that even if it was found to have been properly constituted‚ it had descended into chaos and violence‚ with delegates hurling chairs at each other.
Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle and his supporters walked out.
The resuscitation of the collapsed conference by remaining delegates and members of the ANC’s national executive committee was improper‚ Zilwa said.
But Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi‚ arguing for the ANC‚ dismissed this.
He said the delegates who had remained behind made up 54% of the total delegates‚ and they had every democratic right to proceed with the conference.
“Those who tried to instigate the collapse left.
“Those who were in the majority decided to proceed,” Ngcukaitobi said.
“The national executive committee‚ the highest decision-making body‚ endorsed that decision.”
Ngcukaitobi said the ANC members had, in any event, resorted to the party with their complaints about the conference and whether its outcomes were valid.
By doing so‚ they had triggered the party’s internal remedies‚ and these should be exhausted before they could legally resort to court.
Judges Dawid van Zyl‚ Thami Beshe and Glenn Goosen indicated that they would hand down judgment on December 12.