Ace Magashule is the Free State premier. Picture: Timothy Bernard

Johannesburg - The High Court in Bloemfontein has ruled that the ANC Free State's provincial conference was held unlawfully. 
The court found that 14 branch general meetings that were supposed to take place were not held, and as a consequence several branch delegates from the province will not be able to take part in ANC national conference this weekend. 
The court application was brought by disgruntled Free State ANC members who were unhappy about the outcomes of failed branch meetings.
These members are also believed to be aligned to supporters of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. The group had asked the court to bar all the province's members from participating in the national conference. 

 The Free State's 27-member provincial executive committee (PEC), which was elected at last week's conference, will also not be able to vote at the national conference. 

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This fresh judgment comes in the wake of a similar court application by the same disgruntled group of ANC members who disputed the outcomes of 29 branch general meetings.

The court at the time ruled that province's conference could not go ahead if the branch general meetings were not held lawfully.

In another court decision, the High Court in KwaZulu-Natal has barred the KZN 27-member provincial executive committee from attending this weekend's conference.

The court ruled that the province's PEC would remain dissolved until a pending court appeal is heard.

Both the KZN and Free State are strong supporters of MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the court outcomes will be seen as a big dent in her support base. 

 The ANC’s conference starts on Saturday.

Political Bureau