ANC heads to Appeals Court to fight order to pay businessman R102m for 2019 elections banners
Johannesburg - The ANC is headed to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) to continue its fight against a court ruling that found it obligated to pay a marketing agency R102 million.
Ezulweni Investments produced and installed 30 000 PVC banners for the ANC as part of the party’s last push campaign in the 2019 general elections.
The party was charged R2 900 per banner for installation and R70 for removal of each one after the elections.
Renash Ramdas, Ezulweni’s owner, tasted victory last September against the party that was opposed to paying him even a cent for the work done.
The ANC refused to cough up on grounds that its officials, Nhlanhla Mabaso and Lebohang Nkholise, who gave Ramdas the go-ahead, had no authorisation from treasurer-general Paul Mashatile to do so.
Ramdas argued successfully in the Johannesburg High Court last year that his company put up the banners after he reached an oral agreement with Mabaso and Nkholise in meetings. He told the court via an affidavit he had done work previously for the ANC following oral agreements with officials.
Acting Judge Urmila Bhoola ruled in Ezulweni’s favour. She found that evidence before the court proved that Mabaso and Nkholise had authority to enter into the agreement.
The party’s application for leave to appeal was dealt a blow in November. Judge Bhoola ruled that it had no prospects of success in another court.
Ezulweni obtained a writ of execution last December to attach movable goods at the party’s Luthuli House headquarters and bank accounts.
In turn, the ANC has petitioned the SCA to hear its appeal application. The party sought to convince the Bloemfontein-based court that Judge Bhoola erred in several aspects.
In the affidavit filed at the court, Mabaso said Judge Bhoola erred by finding that a letter dated April 2, 2019 indicated that Nkholise had authority to bind the ANC in agreements.
Signed by head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, and addressed to Mashatile and the finance department, it stated that Nkholise “has been assigned as the signatory for bookings and money for the duration of the Election Campaign”.
Judge Bhoola’s conclusion in this point was misdirected, said Mabaso, the ANC's finance manager.
“The words ‘signatory for bookings and money for the duration of the Election Campaign’ cannot objectively mean that Nkholise was authorised to conclude the alleged contract or to bind the ANC if he were to conclude the alleged contract.”
In another letter dated April 9, 2020, Mashatile was told to “assist with the payment of R87m for 30 000 PVC banners required for the election campaign”.
The letter was purportedly signed by Mbalula. Again in the SCA affidavit, Mabaso gave an impression that Nkholise forged Mbalula’s signature in the letter.
“In the answering affidavit (filed before Judge Bhoola), Nkholise explains that he drafted the letter and inserted Mr Mbalula’s electronic signature. He never placed the letter before Mr Mbalula or the TG (Mashatile),” said Mabaso.
On Wednesday, Ramdas said he was gearing up to oppose the ANC’s SCA application.