ANC Free State conference called off

ANC Free State conference called off

The ANC Free State provincial conference will seemingly not be able to take place this weekend. The High Court in Bloemfontein ordered that the conference not be held until branch general meetings, which have been declared unlawful and irregular by the court, are held in a lawful manner. Twenty-nine branch general meetings have been declared unlawful and irregular.

Hanno Bekker, attorney for the 26 ANC members who brought the case, said there had to be seven days’ notice given before a branch general meeting could be held. There was thus not enough time to convene these meetings, Bekker said.

This comes a day after the Free State provincial general council was held in Parys, where Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was nominated as the province’s presidential candidate.

Listen to the full interview with Bekker on POWER Drive on Wednesday afternoon:

On Tuesday, the Free State ANC convened a provincial general council where it nominated Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over from president Jacob Zuma as party leader. Out of 307 delegates, 209 nominated Dlamini-Zuma and 44 Ramaphosa.

The gathering was boycotted by 104 delegates, who are believed to be supporting ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign to be elected the next president of the party. Among those who boycotted the gathering was the ANC Free State deputy chairperson Thabo Manyoni, who is expected to challenge incumbent chairperson Ace Magashule at the conference.

The judgement renders the PGC’s decisions null and void, as the branches who took part in the meeting were being disputed in the court case. The Free State ANC now risks being prevented from voting at the ANC’s December conference, as it was in 2012, because the BGMs rendered unlawful were also where branches elected delegates to the national gathering.

The case was brought by disgruntled ANC Free State member Lefa Mifi and is understood to be backed by senior leaders in the province. Immediately after the judgement, ANC Free State spokesperson Thabo Meeko said the province would seek to rerun the BGMs that were nullified by the court judgement before conference begins on Friday.