Ace Magashule accused of interfering in ANC’s key Western Cape region

Ace Magashule accused of interfering in ANC’s key Western Cape region.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule has been accused in court papers of manipulating the outcome of the elective conference of the party’s biggest region in the Western Cape.

Five ANC members applied to the high court in Cape Town for an order declaring this month’s Dullah Omar region conference invalid‚ saying Magashule allowed five disqualified branches to participate at the last minute.

The branches had failed to satisfy Luthuli House they were in good standing and were omitted from a June list of qualifying participants. Another 10 branches that voted at the conference should have been disqualified either because they were involved in outstanding disputes or because they had not held meetings to elect representatives‚ according to affidavits from Patrick Poni and four others.

Their case was heard on September 7 and dismissed for lack of urgency‚ allowing the Dullah Omar region – which covers the Cape Town metropolitan area – to complete a conference that been adjourned on September 1. Xolani Sotashe was elected as regional chairman.

“There were bogus delegates at the conference. That was a red flag. Ace was behind that‚” said one ANC source.

But announcing the new regional executive this week‚ ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said it was “mischievous and dishonest” of the five disgruntled members to go to court after being defeated at the conference.

“The provincial executive committee will resolve on the way forward with regards to these members at its next executive meeting‚” he said.

The Dullah Omar region has 116 branches‚ and required 81 (70%) to be in good standing for the regional conference to go ahead.

Magashule signed off on a final audit report for 82 branches but court documents show that five were involved in dispute resolution processes and five had not held general meetings‚ meaning they should have been omitted.

In his high court affidavit‚ Poni said on the eve of the conference‚ August 31‚ the regional executive committee “suddenly introduced five new branches”‚ saying they had been “ordained” the previous day by Magashule.

These branches would have had to convene meetings and elect representatives within a day‚ which one ANC source said was “impossible” under party rules.

Cape Town councillor Andile Lili and several other sources‚ who declined to be named‚ said members were “loaned” to non-qualifying branches to give them the numbers needed to qualify on paper in Magashule’s addendum.

The head of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in the Western Cape‚ advocate Hishaam Mohamed – also the ANC’s legal head in the province and a long-standing PEC member – listened to arguments in the high court on September 7.

Mohamed is campaigning to become ANC provincial chairperson‚ a job the party hopes to fill with a permanent incumbent for the first time in two years after Marius Fransman was expelled in 2016.

Mohamed denied claims that his presence at the proceedings had any influence on the decision to dismiss the matter with costs by acting judge Bruce Langa.

Disgruntled party members have also complained to the national dispute resolution committee chairwoman Jessie Duarte about Magashule’s intervention in the regional conference.

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