Even dead people attending Mangaung ANC branch meetings ahead of conferenceNovember 25, 2022
A group of ANC members in the Free State have launched an urgent court application to interdict the Mangaung regional conference, in yet another instance of factional infighting engulfing the province.
This is just the latest in a string of high court applications by disgruntled Free State party members in the past few months.
The province is led by an interim team headed by Mxolisi Dukwana and is yet to hold an elective conference ahead of the December national conference to be held in Johannesburg.
In court papers filed in the Free State High Court, the applicants ask that the Mangaung regional conference be halted and declared unlawful, unconstitutional, and set aside.
They claimed that the branch meetings were plagued by fraud and irregularities, accusing the Mangaung interim committee (IRC) of “running roughshod” over the rights of Mangaung branch members.
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Following yet another postponement of the conference due to disputes, members assumed that all complaints would be addressed before a new date could be set, said the applicants.
“Believing that the First Respondent [IRC] would await the dispute resolution efforts before convening the said conference, we were again perplexed to see a second notice of the holding of a regional conference.
“When this notice was issued the disputes that were declared were being attended to nationally, by the Task Team appointed by the Third Respondent [ANC headquarters].”
The members decried inaction by party top brass, saying letters written over time to the IRC, the IPC and acting secretary-general Paul Mashatile were never responded to.
‘Dead person’s signature forged’
One of the applicants, Malefetsane Selebi, said criminal charges were laid with the police against those purported to have committed fraud at branches.
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At one of the meetings, a deceased person appeared as an attendee on the list of branch members at ward 27, he said.
“An alleged signature of the deceased person is in the attendees’ list. As if that was not enough, we established from other members who were said to have been part of the meeting that they were not there.
“They all said that signatures attributed to them were forged.”
Selebi added that at least 45 branches in Mangaung were affected, translating into 4 500 party members.
Their application included the submission of a death certificate, a copy of the identity document belonging to the dead party member, and a branch meeting list showing the forged signature.
‘IRC a legitimate body’
In a statement on Wednesday, the IRC shrugged off a letter to Mashatile’s office written by provincial coordinator Paseka Nompondo regarding the conference, and another letter in which branches were summoned to party headquarters in Johannesburg.
“We wish to state that the contents of such a letter have never been communicated with the IRC, nor has the matter been tabled before the IPC for discussion and resolution. The IRC is represented by both the convener and coordinator in the IPC, and would have been alive to any such matter being discussed at that level.
“The letter that is attributed to the provincial coordinator must, therefore, be understood in the context of a leader of the organisation communicating without a mandate and outside the collective within which he leads.”
The IRC argued that it was a legitimate ANC structure and must, therefore, be “accorded the necessary decorum it deserves”.
The Mangaung regional elective conference is set to start on Friday and end on Sunday at Imvelo Resort Safari Lodge in Bloemfontein.
Lejweleputswa region is also holding its own conference.
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