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3 court rulings bring setbacks for ANC ahead of conference

At the same time, secretary general Gwede Mantashe says delegates will not be banned from attending the conference.

ANC 54th national conference at Nasrec in Soweto. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - On the eve of the African National Congress (ANC)'s national conference, there have been three court rulings against the party, two of which have a direct bearing on the gathering.

In the latest setback, the Pietermaritzburg High Court has granted the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) provincial leaders leave to appeal against the September ruling, which declared the 2015 provincial elective conference unlawful, while also granting an execution order for the KZN leaders to immediately vacate office.

In the Free State, the Bloemfontein High Court declared the provincial party’s elective conference earlier this week unlawful and it's barred several branches from attending Saturday’s conference.

The North West High Court also nullified the Bojanala regional conference and set aside 32 branch general meetings, but the party says this doesn’t affect the conference.

The KZN ruling means the party’s provincial leaders will not be allowed to vote at the conference unless they have been sent to the gathering as ordinary branch members.

The Free State ruling effectively bares delegates from 14 branches and the 27 provincial leaders from voting as well.

This means the number of delegates in support of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma dwindles, as both the KZN and North West provincial leaders threw their weight behind her.

The ANC, however, says it doesn’t affect the conference. And the provincial party has confirmed it is appealing the ruling.

At the same time, secretary general Gwede Mantashe says delegates will not be banned from attending the conference.

He says barring their attendance would amount to judicial overreach.

Mantashe says ANC members will only be barred from participating in the election process if they haven't been sent as a branch delegate.

“So, what we are going to be looking at ... if for example, the judgment says those delegates should not participate in any other activity of the organisation, that is the only basis that we will appeal judgment on because you can’t give judgment on a conference.”

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