The ANC has no right to prevent its members from seeking court intervention in party matters when it hasn’t exercised its role in resolving issues itself. So says Mawande Ndakisa, an Eastern Cape ANC and Youth League member.
He is also one of the complainants who has taken the “festival of chairs” matter to the high court in Johannesburg for not resolving the issue properly.
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa dubbed the Eastern Cape provincial conference the “festival of chairs” after violence broke out there. Ramaphosa has since apologised for his utterances.
The national executive committee (NEC) tasked NEC member Sbu Ndebele with investigating the legitimacy of the conference and he compiled a report. The NEC opted to disregard Ndebele’s report and to seek a political solution instead, which would lead to the warring factions working together.
But Ndakisa and his fellow complainants are hoping the court will compel the NEC to implement the recommendations made.
“It has been since last year September 30 that we brought this matter to the NEC. Count from last September up till now, and they are still not providing any leadership in this matter. What else should we do?” asked Ndakisa.
He added that the ANC was not exempt from the laws of the country and thus had no right to prevent its own members from seeking natural justice when they felt aggrieved.
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule told journalists on the sidelines of the NEC meeting, which took place on Monday at the time the matter was in court, that there would eventually be a decision to say “it stops here” when it came to the issue of members taking the party to court.
At its special NEC, the party had to deal with the dismal state of the organisation in some provinces as well as endless court challenges seeking to nullify some regional and provincial conference outcomes. It also had to deal with disgruntled members turning to the courts to prevent certain regional or provincial conferences from taking place.
“The court cases we are dealing with, we have said to our members [that they must] exhaust internal processes. We are at a stage where we will say to members who have not exhausted internal processes and [who] decide to go to court [that] it stops here,” said Magashule.
But Ndakisa, in defending decisions to turn to the courts, said it worked against members to wait for protracted political processes to unfold.
“We shall respect the ANC at all material times, but it must not fail us. When we approach the court later we would be dealt with badly by the court for undue delay,” said Ndakisa.
“If something happens today, it must go to court tomorrow. You can’t say you were waiting for political process. You will lose on a technicality,” continued the Eastern Cape party member.
Ndakisa insisted that the ANC could not blame any of its members who turned to the courts when it was not fulfilling its task.
“The ANC must first lead us but if it fails its members, they will opt for other available avenues provided to them by the law as it reigns supreme in the country,” said Ndakisa.
Magashule also insisted that the 106-year-old liberation movement was well on its way towards being united. This, in spite of the constant threats from different groupings in both regions and provinces of taking each other and the party to court.
“There’s no disconnect. The ANC is a democratic organisation. It’s a liberation movement and a mass-based organisation. The ANC allows its members to raise whatever they want to raise,” argued Magashule. — News24