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ANC Eastern Cape members want conference outcomes nullified

The Eastern Cape’s ANC leadership following the elective conference where Oscar Mabuyane has retained his position as provincial leader defeating Babalo Madikizela in the contest for chairperson at the 9th ANC Eastern Cape provincial conference. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA)

The Eastern Cape’s ANC leadership following the elective conference where Oscar Mabuyane has retained his position as provincial leader defeating Babalo Madikizela in the contest for chairperson at the 9th ANC Eastern Cape provincial conference. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 9, 2022

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Johannesburg – The Eastern Cape's Dr WB Rubusana region wants the outcomes of the ANC provincial conference nullified.

The region also wants the elected leadership to be dissolved.

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In a letter sent to the acting secretary-general of the party, Paul Mashatile, the region led by Nonyamezele Mxenge branch member, Ondela Sokomani, said the processes leading up to the conference were marred by serious irregularities and the disregard of adopted guidelines. Mashatile was given 10 days to reserve the outcomes of the Eastern Cape conference.

The letter, dated June 6, was sent through the law firm Makangela Mtungani INC.

The conference, which was held earlier last month, saw the premier and chairperson Oscar Mabuyane re-elected for a second term.

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Mabuyane received 812 votes, and his opponent Babalo Madikizela received 662 votes.

Before the conference, Sokomani and others raised disputes regarding Branch General Meetings (BGMs). They won in the high court, where Judge GNZ Mjali declared that the decisions, resolutions, and outcomes of branch biennial general meetings (BBGMs) and (BGMs) held during February and March in Dr WB Rubusana were effectively null and void.

Oscar Mabuyane and Babalo Madikizela at the ANC Eastern Cape 9th Provincial conference at East London Convention Center. Picture: BHEKI RADEBE

However, a second court application to urgently stop the provincial conference that was already under way failed.

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In the letter, the lawyers said more than 14 branches in the OR Tambo region, whose legitimate delegates were elected in their BGMs, were unceremoniously changed at the conference registration venue.

They said this was brought to the ANC's National Dispute Resolution Committee (NDRC), but nothing was done.

They added that members of the WB Rubusana region were barred from participating in the conference because of their chaotic branch meetings that were ultimately interdicted in court.

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"The ANC unlawfully allowed the Rubusana delegates elected from the questionable branch general meetings to participate in the 8th provincial conference so as to contaminate it. The participation in the provincial conference by the Chris Hani disputed delegates and whose matter has been serving before the NDRC and has pronounced itself that they must be excluded," read the letter.

"A great number of re-runs were hastily and chaotically ordered within 48 hours of the start of the provincial conference, resulting in their unlawfulness, but the delegates from the affected branches were irregularly allowed to participate in the conference."

The lawyers said the inconsistent and unlawful rulings were given in relation to legitimate complaints raised by some ANC branches.

"In any event, it is our distinct instructions that the vast majority of the said irregularities are well-known to you and the leadership of the ANC because they were repeatedly and exhaustively brought to the specific attention of the ANC and its Provincial Disputes Resolution Committee (PDRC) and NDRC, were never duly attended to, either at all or in a proper and satisfactory manner," said the lawyers.

The lawyers added that Mashatile has 10 days to provide an undertaking from the date of receipt and that all the purported outcomes of the "unlawful" provincial conference will be nullified. The lawyers added that the ANC should organise a legitimate provincial conference with all processes being observed. They said the elected Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) should not conduct itself as a duly elected leadership of the Eastern Cape province. The lawyers said they will approach the court should the ANC fail to reserve the outcomes of the province.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe did not respond to calls and WhatsApp messages. The party's spokesperson in Eastern Cape, Gift Ngqondi, also did not respond to questions.

The ANC has been suffering a headache ahead of regional and provincial conferences, with the latest being violent protests in its Ekurhuleni and Tshwane regions, whose regional conferences were marred by disputes.

Two weeks ago, Ekurhuleni members turned their regional conferences into a festival of chairs. Last week, Tshwane almost suffered the same fate when five branches complained of list manipulation by the regional conference organisers. A similar situation is set to play out in the West Rand after party members marched to the ANC provincial headquarters, Walter Sisulu House and Luthuli House, to protest against irregularities allegedly committed by regional secretary Sanele Ngwaventsha.

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