Free State ANC will not attend Mangaung

The Constitutional Court has declared the Free State ANC nomination conference as “unlawful”.

Free State Premier and provincial ANC chairman Ace Magashule pictured on 7 January 2012. Picture: GCIS/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The Constitutional Court on Friday handed down an order declaring the provincial conference of the ANC in the Free State as "unlawful".

Six disgruntled members went to the court to challenge the legality of that conference held earlier this year.

In a majority ruling handed down by deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, the court set aside the elective conference and its resolutions.

"The provincial elective conference of the Free State province of the African National Congress, held at Parys on 21 -23 June 2012, and its decisions and resolutions are declared unlawful and invalid."

There was an eruption of emotion in court as the judgment was delivered.

There were shouts of change, victorious singing, screaming into telephones and even tears.

One of the applicants, Mpho Ramakatsa, said the ruling meant the Free State ANC would not be represented at this weekend's Mangaung conference.

"No one in the Free State is going to attend that conference. The court order is very clear, that the provincial elective conference in the Free State is declared null and void."

He and five others who want the ANC's provincial executive committee dissolved approached the court.

It accused committee members of forming parallel branches, gangsterism, criminal activity and they raised concerns about irregularities with branch audits.

But clarity is still needed from the ANC on what exactly this means for the party's conference, which gets underway on Sunday.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe will address a press conference later on Friday.

The Free State ANC had reelected Ace Magashule as its leader and said they would back President Jacob Zuma for another term at the helm.

At the same time, ANC members in the North West have applied to the Mafikeng High Court for an order interdicting the registration of delegates to the Mangaung conference.

They want the results of last week's provincial nominations conference nullified.

It is understood a judgment in that matter could also be handed down later on Friday.