Rustenberg - Delegates from the Bojanala region of the ANC in North West will not be able to vote for their preferred candidate to lead the 105-year-old organisation, provincial secretary Dakota Legoete confirmed on Saturday.
"The African National Congress leadership in Bokone Bophirima [North West] took a decision last night [Friday] to avoid putting the ANC national conference at risk and rather request for the conference voting status of its delegates from Bojanala to be changed.
"This was done in the interest of the organisation and in line with a judgment of the North West High Court in Mahikeng, delivered yesterday [Friday]," he said.
Legoete said the provincial leadership took this decision after receiving information about "spoilers" bent on putting the ANC in a perpetual bad light and the province was not prepared to contribute to such.
"We are also happy that the national executive committee (NEC) is of the same view on this matter and thank our affected Bojanala delegates for their understanding and co-operation. The ANC in Bokone Bophirima is confident that our delegates from Bojanala will add considerable value to all discussions of the conference, despite them not being able to vote for their preferred leadership."
The North West High Court on Friday, in one of several court battles between opposing factions of the ANC, ruled that the Bojanala regional conference held on September 24, was invalid and unconstitutional, and the conference and its resolutions were set aside.
The court also set aside the general meetings of 39 branches. There were 24 affected branches in Madibeng, seven in Rustenburg and eight in Moses Kotane.
Former Bojanala regional secretary Tokyo Mataboge and 39 others approached the high court seeking an order to nullify the Bojanala regional conference, stating that 40 branches in Bojanala were not constitutionally established.
The ANC in North West lodged an appeal against the ruling, arguing that the court erred on some of the critical points of ANC procedures and processes.
Also read: ANC to appeal high court's Bojanala judgment
"It is, however, our strong-held view that all the necessary processes were adhered to in preparations for and in holding Bojanala regional conference. In addition to this, upon realising that there was some dissatisfaction, several meetings were initiated with the applicants and they chose not to co-operate. It is our firm view that the court erred on some of the critical matters of ANC procedures and processes," Mataboge said on Friday.
"We would like to also make it clear that the applicants never challenged the ANC national conference processes and therefore the judgment has got no immediate direct bearing on the number of Bokone Bophirima delegates to the National Conference."
The ANC argued that the applicants' court bid was premature as they did not exhaust all internal remedies of the ANC before approaching the court.
However advocate Terry Motau for the applicant argued that his clients lodged a dispute with the ANC national and provincial officials in December 2016, and eight months later nothing had been done to resolve their dispute, instead organisational processes were unfolding including a branch general meeting that led to the regional conference.
The non-voting status of the Bojanala region, the biggest in the province, could scupper former African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's bid to become the first woman to lead the ANC. North West went into the conference supporting Dlamini-Zuma's bid for the party presidency.
African News Agency