Ace Magashule is the Free State premier. Picture: Timothy Bernard
Johannesburg -  The High Court in the Free State has ruled that the Free State ANC's planned elective conference, scheduled to take place on Friday, cannot go ahead. 
The court said a number of branch general meetings that took place in the past couple of months were unlawful and should be held again - lawfully.
The court case was brought to court by disgruntled Free State ANC members who questioned the legitimacy of the BGMs that took place since September. 
Regions whose BGMs have been questioned include; Thabo Mofutsanyana, Mangaung, Gariep and Lejweleputswa. 
The province was planning to hold the conference from Friday, following the province's provincial general council (PGC) meeting on Tuesday. 
Free State ANC spokesperson Thabo Meeko admitted that the province was worried about the court judgment and its effect on the road map to the ANC national conference next month. 
Picture: Supplied
"We respect the outcome and ruling of the court and we will now seek guidance from Luthuli House and legal counsel. This decision does affect the road map to the conference because we were hoping to use the conference to consolidate on the province's ideas on policy ahead of the national conference," said Meeko. 
At the PGC on Tuesday the Free State ANC announced their nomination of MP Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as their preferred candidate to take over from Jacob Zuma as ANC president at the party's elective conference next month. 
The province also endorsed nominations of members of Dlamini-Zuma's slate including Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza who was nominated as deputy president. 

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The Free State ANC chair Ace Magashule was due to face off with his deputy Thabo Monyane, who failed to pitch at the PGC, at the province's elective conference. 
Magashule has been the ANC chair in the province since 1994, and this elective conference would be the first test that could dent his long run as leader in the province.  
The province's elective conference has been long overdue, but has constantly faced legal challenges from some ANC members due to unlawful processes. 
It remains to be seen whether the PGC meeting will be challenged as the High Court decision could affect the decisions taken there. 

Meeko denied that the court judgement would affect the outcomes of the PGC as it had nothing to do with it. 

Politics Bureau