The African National Congress (ANC) is set for yet another court battle, this time in Gauteng, with disgruntled members from at least four branches in Sedibeng seeking to challenge the outcomes of a June 30 regional conference.
The notice of motion, which News24 has seen, was filed in the High Court on Thursday and is seeking to get the conference declared null and void, and to also have the newly elected regional executive committee dissolved.
The ANC's regional conferences in the province were postponed for a week to allow more time to settle disputes and grievances over branch general meetings leading up to the conferences. This was also done in a bid to avoid dragging the party into yet another court battle.
The postponement of the regional conferences also came following threats to approach the courts from disgruntled West Rand members who went to a national executive committee meeting to demonstrate over the issue outside the venue where the ANC's highest decision-making body was deliberating over issues.
All five regions in Gauteng have successfully held their regional conferences since then.
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, his deputy Jessie Duarte, Gauteng secretary Hope Papo and Sedibeng regional secretary Bheki Ngobese were cited as the 1st – 4th respondents alongside four applicants representing the Johan Heyns, Phahamang, Elizabeth Letanta and Sarah Jane branches.
The complaints claimed they require legal recourse to address "political injustices" orchestrated by the four respondents.
Gauteng becomes yet another province stained by legal wrangling over processes leading up to elective conferences.
The Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North West and Limpopo are just some of the provinces already been taken to the courts, with some being challenged before and others after the ANC's watershed December national conference which saw President Cyril Ramaphosa beat out Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to become the 106-year-old liberation movement's leader.
"Maladministration that took place in the regional conference concerning allegations of inconsistent signatures and lack of transparency by disqualifying some branches with unsigned addendums from the secretary general's office," is cited as one of the concerns in the court papers.
David Miya is the only applicant named in the court papers, he claims to represent all of the aggrieved from the four branches cited in the documents.
He also complained over credentials and a regional task team that was put in place being given powers to vote.
"Credentials were not duly adopted by the conference, i.e.: they were adopted with standing objections and through the vote," argued Miya.
"The list of grievances suffered by the applicants is endless and at the hands of the respondents," he continued.
The ANC in the province confirmed to News24 that it was served with papers and said its lawyers were currently looking into the matter.
Its spokesperson Motaletale Modiba said the party would defend itself and its conferences.
"It's important to point out, that on the side of the ANC we've done everything possible to follow guidelines and rules and to ensure that branches that qualify to participate get to participate," said Modiba.
He added that the province had set up dispute mechanisms and that there was an appeals process led by NEC deployees.
"All those were put in place to make sure the process becomes transparent and fair that's why we are confident in terms of defending ourselves against anyone who wants to take us to court," said Modiba.
He described people continuing to reject "internal processes" and instead opting to take the ANC to court as "unfortunate," emphasising that the ANC would push for awards with cost.
"We can no longer afford to have people taking the organisation to court knowing very well we have followed due process, have gone the extra mile to make sure every box that needs to be ticked is ticked," concluded the ANC Gauteng spokesperson.