An urgent court application by African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa to stop Mpumalanga branches that nominated "unity" for the ANC's top six positions from attending the party's national elective conference is expected to be heard in the high court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The applicants have taken the ANC at Luthuli House, Mpumalanga ANC and provincial chair David Mabuza to court ahead of the upcoming elective conference, which takes place between December 16 and 20 in Gauteng.
Should the delegates attend, Phosa's campaigner Ronnie Malomane and six others want them barred from voting for any "specific individual candidates".
The applicants want the meetings of the branches that nominated "unity" to be declared "null and void, unlawful and unconstitutional".
Some 233 branches nominated "unity" during their branch meetings after sources said Mabuza reportedly instructed branches not to choose any candidate but write "unity" on the leadership nomination forms.
The applicants are also demanding that the December 1 provincial general council (PGC) that consolidated branch nominations be "derecognised".
During the PGC, Mabuza made several attempts for the party's electoral commission and independent agency to declare that the province had nominated "unity". However this was rejected by officials who recorded the nominations as "abstentions".
Mabuza's unity nomination campaign has been highly criticised and is considered a "political master stroke" in influencing who replaces President Jacob Zuma when he steps down as party president. He has been pushing for an arranged leadership to avoid contestation at the conference, which he said risked further dividing the ANC.
Mpumalanga qualifies to bring 736 delegates to the national conference, making it the province with the second-highest number of delegates.