The party, gripped by factionalism, on Friday escaped being deregistered by the Electoral Commission (IEC) by the skin of its teeth. It would have been the first time since the dawn of democracy that the PAC would have been excluded from the voters’ roll.
After hours of listening to an intense stand-off by party members over who should be president, Judge Moses Mavundla, instructed members to follow the draft order which proposes, among other things, an interim national executive committee. Up to 30 respondents participated in the matter with former leader Alton Mphethi asking the courts to intervene in resolving the impasse.
One faction wants Narius Moloto to be declared the party’s legitimate president while another, insists that Mzwanele Nyhontso is number one.
Mphethi also seeks a stake in the top three leadership. He put up a fight indicating that he would not be coerced into accepting the interim draft order without some of his conditions being met, but Mavundla dismissed his application with costs.
A final agreement has since been reached which states that Moloto, whose face is already on election posters, be placed as president and for Nyhotso to be his deputy. The order also called for Apa Pooe, to be selected as secretary-general, Bennett Joko as his deputy and for Phumzile Phasha to act as treasurer followed by Mbuyise Gantshu as the national organiser, Phillip Dlamini as national chairman and Sibusiso Xaba as his deputy.
“I will stand the matter down and once more urge parties to look beyond the mirage. It would be sad if this party is unable to participate in the elections. I urge that everybody strive to contain themselves. I’m mindful of the fact that there are a lot of emotions that have been building up. Sometimes we focus too much on who must drive the car. What is important is that all those in the vehicle reach their common destination,” Mavundla said.
Representing the IEC, advocate Morena Moerane, told the court that the PAC had to be forced by the commission to approach the courts on at least two occasions. In what appeared to be an unending tiff in court, Moerane reminded the party throughout that time was running out as all parties must submit nomination lists of their preferred candidates on March 13.
“The IEC timetable applies to each and every registered political party. The timetable is also in accordance with the Electoral Act. As far as the IEC is concerned, we require an order by this court which will indicate who will represent the PAC in the forthcoming elections. Without such an order the PAC will not be able to take part,” he said, shunning recommendations by one of the legal representatives that the IEC extend the PAC’s submission.
Shortly after the court adjourned, former PAC president Luthando Mbinda, said the PAC was above individuals’ egos saying the only thing that mattered now was for the leaders to unite and campaign for the elections.