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Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League faces another massive lawsuit – this time for an unpaid bill of R5 million owed to the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.
The league paid out R8m to its creditors almost a month ago to avoid being liquidated.
Then, the league struck an 11th-hour out-of-court settlement with its creditors, Z2 Presentations – trading as University Events Managements – and Palanquin Hotel Management.
The league owed Z2 Presentations more than R15.5m and Palanquin R1.5m.
The Star understands the league agreed to pay Z2 Presentation the original default judgment order of R7.7m, while Palanquin was also paid half the amount it originally claimed.
The debt arose from the league’s notorious and often shambolic national elective conference in Bloemfontein in 2008, where Julius Malema took over the league’s presidency from Fikile Mbalula, now minister of sport and recreation.
Last month, acting league president Mzwandile Masina refused to disclose the settlement.
“We want to keep it confidential as we all signed a confidentiality clause. We are relieved that the matter is resolved.
“We are not aware of any debt at this point. We are not expecting any further legal challenges.”
Masina also said the settlement would give them an opportunity to focus on the elections – but the latest application belies this.
Adolf Venter, chief executive of the Gallagher Convention Centre, submitted in his latest papers in the South Gauteng High Court that the league was made aware of the application on March 14 – two weeks before they paid R8.5m to other creditors.
Venter said their papers were served to Masina’s personal assistant, known only as Themba, who received the papers but claimed that the league was broke.
In this application, the Gallagher Convention Centre wants the league to pay more than R5m for providing conference facilities for four cocktail functions for the league’s guests and VIPs during a conference from June 16 to 19, 2011 where the now-sacked Malema was re-elected unopposed as president.
Venter said his institution had obtained a default judgment against the league in September 2011, but it failed to pay.
On Wednesday, the Gallagher Convention Centre made a fresh application in the High Court for the liquidation of the league in its bid to recoup the money owed.
The league has until Wednesday to file its notice of intention to oppose the liquidation application. If it opposes the application, the league must file its answering affidavit within 15 days of delivery of notice of intention to oppose.
According to the motion of notice, both parties were expected in the South Gauteng High Court on May 19 for the hearing of the main application.
The convention centre now wants the court to appoint a liquidator to conduct an audit of all league assets, or alternatively force the ANC to settle the debt.
In its papers, it states: “The Gallagher Convention Centre has accommodated the league and has afforded it more than ample opportunity to settle and satisfy its indebtedness to the centre.
“Past communications with Julius Malema and Pule Mabe (former league treasurer) and assurances by them that the indebtedness would be settled have not come to fruition, which ultimately led to the institution by the Gallagher Convention Centre of the claim action against the league in August 2011, culminating in the granting of the default judgment by the South Gauteng High Court, which to date remains unsatisfied.”
On Thursday, league spokesman Bandile Masuku said he was unaware of the latest application and would verify the content of the claim before responding.