Pretoria - The legal action by aggrieved ANC members in Sedibeng against the Gauteng provincial conference has plunged the most highly contested and watershed conference into chaos.
The Gauteng ANC provincial executive committee (PEC), under outgoing provincial chairperson and Premier David Makhura, held a marathon meeting to discuss various stumbling blocks towards next week’s elective conference.
The meeting came as supporters of MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi and Human Settlements MEC Lebogang Maile are at each other’s throats, accusing each other of vote-rigging and manipulation.
Lesufi and Maile are contesting the position of provincial chairperson.
Videos circulating on social media show Maile claiming that “the cowards”, an indirect reference to Lesufi’s supporters, were afraid and preparing themselves to rig the outcome of the conference.
Maile’s supporters also claim that the court action was to deny 52 of their delegates an opportunity to participate.
Last weekend, ANC members were at Turffontein, south of Joburg, to register for the conference. Insiders told Independent Media that the Gauteng PEC was expected to make a pronouncement on the mudslinging ahead of the conference.
A total of 1 140 voting delegates are expected to attend.
Gauteng ANC provincial secretary Jacob Khawe was not available to comment on the factional battles and the court action.
The pending legal action by more than 25 branches in the Sedibeng region, according to insiders, was a thorn in the side of the ANC leadership, which has until Friday this week to submit replying affidavits.
The main applicant, Morena Mokubung, asked the Gauteng High Court in Joburg to nullify the Sedibeng regional elective conference outcome that was held on May 27 and 28.
Mokubung also wants the provincial elective conference, if it goes ahead this weekend, to exclude Sedibeng delegates.
The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) was also cited in the court application, particularly its National Dispute Resolution Committee under former deputy minister Mduduzi Manana.
In the 241-page indictment, Mokubung and his co-applicants furnished the court with the ANC’s guidelines on measures to be taken for a branch biennial general meeting, regional, provincial and national elective conferences.
They argued that several guidelines were breached ahead of the Sedibeng regional conference.
Gauteng ANC officials are also expected to give the meeting the outcomes of the controversial ANC’s Ekurhuleni conference which was marred by violence.
ANC members are eagerly awaiting the outcome, especially after 19 votes were quarantined, which led to incumbent Mzwandile Masina retaining his seat with a slight majority last month.
The final report on the matter looks set to divide the Gauteng ANC and any outcome – according to insiders – could lead to another litigation against the party.