Luthuli House has its hands full with complaints about irregularities streaming in from the Eastern Cape, where branches are embroiled in disputes with leadership over alleged electoral cheating – and now threaten legal action.
At least 36 party branches from the Chris Hani region had threatened to take the party to court for not resolving disputes that had occurred in branch general meetings before going to the regional conference.
They want the conference stopped and threatened to seek an interdict against the upcoming provincial conference on 22 April.
The branches from Chris Hani and Dr WB Rubusana regions in particular pointed fingers at the provincial leadership for an alleged manipulation of outcomes of branch general meetings (BGMs).
Lawyers representing 36 branches in Chris Hani have written to ANC treasurer-general Paul Mashatile to highlight the fact that they were not ready for regional conference due to outstanding appeals emanating from disputes over irregularities. The lawyers said they were instructed to seek an interdict against the upcoming provincial conference if the regional conference went ahead while the appeals were still pending.
It is understood that Luthuli House was considering approaching a lawyer themselves to arrange an out-of-court settlement on the matter, so that the provincial conference could go ahead. But it remains to be seen if the affected branches would accept the offer.
Chris Hani members were concerned that the provincial conference would go ahead with their disputes unaddressed by the national disciplinary committee. As things stand now their grievances have simply been cast aside.
In a letter to Mashatile, the lawyers for the disgruntled say the run-up to the provincial conference had been marred with irregularities.
The lawyers asked Luthuli House to prohibit branches that found themselves under a cloud of irregularity from participating in the regional conference.
Otherwise, they were instructed to seek an interdict against the upcoming provincial conference being held.
If the Chris Hani conference went ahead without addressing the complaints, it would contravene the ANC’s constitution and guidelines on how branch general meetings and conferences should interact, the lawyers said on behalf of their clients.
Recently, Luthuli House ordered branches in the Rubusana and Sarah Baartman regions to rerun their BGMs.
This came after an investigation team was dispatched to the Eastern Cape by Mashatile and found that indeed irregularities had occurred at Rubusana and that some head office call centre staff had participated.
As a result, an East London court ordered compliance with the ANC’s constitution.