Free State leadership fight in court

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iol news 24 jun SA si magashule pic INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS Ace Magashule, the provincial chairperson of the ANC in the Free State. Picture: Timothy Bernard

Bloemfontein -

Free State ANC leader Ace Magashule and others were abusing court procedures to prevent the merits of their election as leaders being aired in public, the Bloemfontein High Court heard on Thursday.

Counsel for six local unhappy ANC members, Dali Mpofu, told Free State Judge MH Rampai that Magashule and 25 other respondents had ignored court orders and tried to escape arguing the merits of the case in court.

“It’s an abuse of court processes, used to keep the case out of the court.”

The court was hearing an application by Free State ANC members unhappy with the leadership elected at the provincial party conference on June 22. The application was for a court order to stop Magashule, re-elected at the conference, and his provincial executive committee (PEC) from working.

The six ANC members want an interdict against Magashule and his PEC. The group also wants the ANC, against whom papers were also filed, to dissolve the Free State PEC and to appoint an interim management structure until the end of the case.

They want the party's Free State conference, held in Parys, and any decisions made there, declared null and void.

The national ANC's decision to accept and support the June Free State conference elections should also be put aside.

In addition, Rampai would have to consider an application for postponement of the matter by Magashule and the others on the grounds that the group’s original court application was “stillborn”.

However, Mpofu submitted the application for a postponement should be dismissed because Magashule and the others had been in possession of the papers well in advance.

“The dismissal has no merits,” Mpofu said.

Counsel for Magashule and the others, Majellie Wessels, said the application was riddled with problems.

“They ask the court not to postpone an application fraught with problems.”

Wessels told Rampai the application was “stillborn” from the outset.

“This is not abuse of processes.”

He argued not all people that might be affected by the matter had been served with papers. That had been the reason for the postponements in the past.

“They are bold today to ask for relief sought,” he said.

Wessels said the six members had not followed court rules and made their own, the same thing Magashule and the others were accused of. He submitted that the six had not provided all the papers that would be used in the matter.

“You should serve all papers you propose to use. Follow the rules.”

Rampai adjourned the case to later in the day.

The street in front of the court was cordoned off by police and razor wire. Two groups of supporters, supporting the two parties, sang and danced on opposite sides of the closed street while police officers kept watch. - Sapa


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