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FS ANC 'extremely surprised' by ruling nullifying provincial conference

Now delegates from 14 branches and the 27 provincial leaders have been barred from voting at the national conference.

Free State ANC spokesperson Thabo Meeko briefing the media on the Free States provincial elective conference on 11 December 2017. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Free State African National Congress (ANC) says its surprised by the Bloemfontein High Court’s decision nullifying the outcome of the provincial party’s elective conference earlier this week, along with the re-election of Ace Magashule as ANC chair.

Disgruntled members filed an application to interdict the province from sending delegates to the conference, which starts on Saturday.

The same court previously ruled that 29 branches in four regions in the province breached the ANC’s constitution -ordering them to re-run before the province could elect new leaders.

When the Free State elective conference started earlier this week, the provincial leadership said it had complied with a court order and made sure branch general meetings in 29 branches sat again.

The court has now ruled that some of those branches did not re-run as ordered.

Now delegates from 14 branches and the 27 provincial leaders have been barred from voting at the national conference.

Free State ANC spokesperson Thabo Meeko says they’re taken aback by the ruling.

“[We are] Extremely surprised. We’re still studying the judgment. We’ll comment as soon as we have gone through the contents of the judgment itself.”

The KwaZulu-Natal ANC’s leaders will also not be allowed to vote on Saturday unless they are attending the conference as ordinary ANC members sent by branches.

Meanwhile, in the North West, the High Court on Friday set aside the Bojanala regional conference, along with the majority of branch general meetings.

Meanwhile, ANC Free State deputy chair Thabo Manyoni has admitted that he's played a part in vote rigging in the past.

Manyoni says Friday's judgment shows how rife the process is within the ANC.

“I’ve been part of that vote rigging. There comes a time that you stop some of these things and I decided, look I can’t carry on in this manner.”

_Additional reporting by Tendani Mulaudzi. _