Court dismisses ANC members’ bid to join Ace Magashule case
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Johannesburg - Several ANC members have failed in their applications to intervene in the party’s suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule’s South Gauteng High Court bid to be reinstated to his powerful position.
Former ANC branch chairperson in Gauteng and businessman Mutumwa Mawere; the Fezile Dabi region; the Arthur Pitso and Jomo Marumo branches; branch secretary Pule Nthene and member Thabang Nkhoke, all in the Free State, as well as Nkosentsha Shezi from KwaZulu-Natal wanted to join Magashule’s urgent application for various reasons.
Mawere argued that ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte had no authority to take over Magashule’s powers and depose the party’s answering affidavit in response to the former Free State premier.
Mawere said the court must determine whether the ANC national executive committee (NEC) could arbitrary give Magashule’s powers to his deputy.
He said the court should determine the circumstances under which an assistant could fire her boss, and likened the move with Magashule having a coup d'état in his own office.
Ngwako Maenetje SC, representing the ANC, asked the full Bench of the high court – Judges Jody Kollapen, Sharise Weiner and Edwin Molahlehi – not to entertain Mawere’s application as it was defective and did not make out a case for intervention.
He said Duarte has authority to represent the ANC as the powers have been delegated by the party’s NEC. She is one of the national officials.
Maenetje said Mawere was suspended for misconduct in 2012 and that he has no direct and substantial interest in Magashule’s matter.
Maenetje argued that it was absurd to expect the ANC NEC of more than 80 members to convene to decide to defend the matter.
”It is in those circumstances that the delegation is required… It would be practically impossible that each and every time there is litigation, the NEC must convene,” he said.
Shezi told the court that Duarte’s affidavit was not properly before the court and that Magashule was the only person empowered to suspend party members.
The ANC opposed applications to intervene on the basis of lack of urgency and lack of direct and substantial interest.
The Free State region, branches and members challenged the constitutionality of rule 25.70 of the ANC’s constitution. It said the resolutions adopted at the party’s national conference in 2017, which were used to temporarily oust Magashule, were unconstitutional and unlawful, like the NEC and the national working committee’s implementation of them.
The Free State group said they did not bring their application to intervene in support of Magashule but as a matter of principle on behalf of ANC members.
However, Judge Kollapen was not satisfied that a proper case had been made for the urgency of the intervention applications.
Mawere’s application to intervene was dismissed with costs, as was Shezi and the Free State group’s bid to join the matter.
Judge Kollapen said all the intervention applications were brought after June 1, the day Magashule’s application was enrolled for hearing.
The matter continues.