African National Congress (ANC) presidential hopeful Mathews Phosa has withdrawn the urgency of a court interdict which sought to stop Mpumalanga branches that nominated "unity" for the ANC's top six positions from attending the party's national elective conference on Saturday.
"I am happy to announce parties have managed to find each other," Advocate Dali Mpofu SC, for the applicant, told Judge Edwin Molahlehi, who was presiding over the matter in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
Mpofu said the parties had held a meeting on Monday and had agreed to hold internal discussions.
He did not want to divulge what was discussed during the meeting, but said parties had agreed to "seek each other within the internal structures".
Molahlehi said parties should refrain from running to lawyers whenever they experienced conflict.
He urged parties to remind themselves of the constitution.
"The best way of resolving conflict is through negotiations," Molahlehi said.
The court gallery was packed to capacity with ANC supporters. Following the adjournment, supporters cheered loudly and shouted "unity, unity!"
The applicants had taken the ANC at Luthuli House, the 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 campaign manager Ronnie Malomane and six others wanted them barred from voting for any "specific individual candidates".
The applicants also wanted 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 had reportedly instructed branches not to choose any candidate, but to 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".
Malomane told News24: "The ANC met yesterday (Monday). We have agreed that the matter should be withdrawn and the ANC will form a task team to Mpumalanga. In order to track… all of their complaints, we have agreed that the unity abstract is no longer there. It is not a candidate. It was just a shadow [and] it won't even affect the delegates."
He said they had only withdrawn the urgency of the court matter, and that the constitutionality of the matter was still to be heard in court.
The matter might be heard in 2018, he said.
News24 previously reported that 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 widely 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.