Mkhize: Free State ANC court battle unfortunate

Mkhize says he hopes the provincial and national leadership will assist the province to ensure a successful conference which isn’t interrupted by court cases.

FILE: ANC treasurer-general Zweli Mkhize. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize says it’s unfortunate that matters relating to the ANC conference in the Free State have ended up in court.

The High Court in Bloemfontein on Wednesday barred the Free State structure from holding its provincial conference this coming weekend, declaring branch general meetings held in four regions unconstitutional.

The ruling now brings into question this week’s provincial general council.

Mkhize says he hopes that the provincial and national leadership will assist the province to ensure a successful conference which isn’t interrupted by court cases.

Giving a lecture on the importance of unity in Midrand on Wednesday, Mkhize said that he believed things could be resolved.

“We’d be concerned about the extent to which some of the irregularities would have affected the processes that are going towards the national conference.

“Work has to be done quickly to make sure that those branches that needed to be corrected and rerun, must be done.”

On Wednesday, the court ruled that the party’s Free State provincial conference cannot go ahead as scheduled this weekend because branch general meetings held in four regions over the last four months were unconstitutional, unlawful, irregular and in breach of the ANC constitution.

The ruling also brings into question the provincial general council that was hastily arranged earlier this week.

The Free State ANC leadership will have to defy a previous order instructing it to hold an elective conference tomorrow, in order to implement the new one barring it from holding that gathering.

Free State ANC spokesperson Thabo Meeko admits that the recent court outcome is problematic for the party.

“Because this has got nothing to do with Free State ANC, it has got to do with the national conference of the ANC in December.”

Meanwhile, there is also a court battle on Thursday where the KwaZulu-Natal ANC is applying for leave to appeal the September ruling which nullified the provincial executive.

The recent Eastern Cape elective conference is also being appealed.

At this stage, it’s unclear to what extend all these cases will affect the national conference next month.

Additional reporting by Clement Manyathela.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)