File photo: Angelo Kalmeyer

Cape Town - The PAC and the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) will be in court on Tuesday as the party seeks to overturn the commission’s decision to suspend its funding due to messy leadership disputes.

The IEC administers the represented political parties fund, and allocates monies from state coffers to parties according to the numbers of their respective elected public representatives in national and provincial legislatures.

Every year, the fund publishes its annual report, and political parties’ financial statements, accounting for how the money is used.

Luthando Mbinda, who was elected PAC president at last year’s congress in Botshabelo, on Thursday maintained Letlapa Mphahlele, who was expelled alongside others two years ago, was unlawfully elected president last weekend in Mangaung. That gathering “was not a PAC congress, expelled members cannot hold a congress”, said Mbinda, adding that while Mphahlele was challenging his expulsion in court, this matter had yet to be finalised.

“My administration has been submitting (the required financial statements). That is why we are taking them (IEC) to court,” said Mbinda, who also argued the suspension of the financial allocations was tantamount to “banning” the PAC. “It’s unfair…”

The IEC on Thursday confirmed the statutory fund’s allocations to the PAC had been stopped until there was clarity about who led the party.

“It has been difficult for the commission, over an extended period of time, to discern the true and authentic leadership of the PAC.

“Having followed a fair and transparent process, the commission came to the conclusion that communication with the leadership groupings in the party be suspended until such time the dispute is resolved by a court of competent jurisdiction,” said the IEC.

It added that the electoral commission had no mandate to mediate internal political party matters.

Mbinda, who is the PAC’s sole MP, acknowledged the Mangaung gathering which chose Mphahlele went ahead after an unsuccessful application for a court interdict, but said the ruling was made on the basis of technicalities.

However, it was that unsuccessful interdict which led Mphahlele to say his election as president was above board, although “we still have some legal challenges going on”.

Asked whether he wanted to return to Parliament, where he lost his seat following his expulsion, Mphahlele said: “Parliament is not uppermost in my mind. It’s the PAC I’m passionate about.”

Meanwhile, Parliament has indicated it was “processing” a letter from the African People’s Convention (APC) leaders who say its sole current MP, Themba Godi, had been expelled. However, Godi on Thursday maintained he was still president and said those claiming to write on behalf of the APC couldn’t do so as they had been expelled from the party. Steps were under way to replace seven of them as local government councillors, he added.

Political Bureau