ConCourt ruling: ‘Please have hope in the ANC’
“Please have hope in the ANC.” This was the message delivered by ANC member Mpho Ramakatsa, after the Constitutional Court today ruled that it would hear his appeal on alleged electoral fraud in the election of the Free State ANC Provincial Executive Committee.
Seconds after Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng announced that the court would hear the appeal, about 40 Free State ANC members burst into applause, attracting bemused grins from the justices of the ConCourt.
Many of them were wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Working for Change” and bearing the name of Kgalema Motlanthe as their preferred candidate to take over the presidency in Mangaung.
Six members of the Free State ANC have launched a court challenge of the election of the provincial executive committee, headed by Premier Ace Magashule.
According to their lawyer, Dali Mpofu, who was arguing an application for leave to appeal yesterday, they alleged that “fraudulent”, ghost branches of the ANC had been created in the province in order to rig the election.
Mpofu said that the matter should be heard by the Constitutional Court given the fact that the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung was around the corner.
According to counsel acting for the ANC and the provincial NEC, they had not had enough time to gather evidence and file affidavits when the case was placed before the Free State High Court.
This was despite the fact that an initial investigation clearing the PEC of wrongdoing was endorsed by the ANC NEC when they already knew about the pending court action.
Justice Zak Yacoob yesterday expressed surprise that the evidence needed for the ANC to file affidavits was not “readily available”, given the fact that there had been a preliminary investigation.
The Free State High Court declined to hear the merits of the case, based on various technicalities.
These included that branches of the ANC in the province had not been properly joined to the case and had not been served with papers.
The order of the court, with reasons for judgment still to be released, was hailed as a victory for those who oppose President Jacob Zuma’s re-election as president of the party.
Speaking on the steps of the Constitutional Court, Mpho Ramakatsa, one of the six ANC members who took the PEC to court, called on South Africans to have hope in the party.
“There are people like us and you, who are ensuring that the soul of the ANC is saved,” he said.
Ramakatsa said that they had gone as far as sending a delegation to President Zuma about their complaints, to no avail.
“Nobody is above the law, including all political organisations,” he said.
Ramakatsa said the case was about ensuring that the ANC was “in the right hands”.
Oupa Khoabane, spokesperson for the Free State ANC, said it was “painful” to resolve disputes outside the internal structures of the party, but that the ANC would respect the court’s decision.
According to the ruling, the ANC and the PEC have until Monday to file their opposing affidavits.