In a statement on the legal blow they were handed on Monday in the High Court in Johannesburg, the disgruntled ANC members from the Eastern Cape who want to force the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) to implement the recommendations of the Ndebele Appeals Panel have vowed to fight on.
The four ANC members who went to court are supporters of former chairperson Phumulo Masualle and have pulled no punches in their latest statement about what they think of his successor, Oscar Mabuyane.
The high court dismissed their application with costs on the basis that the applicants had not made a compelling case for urgency.
Sbu Ndebele’s report on the disputed Eastern Cape elective conference recommended earlier this year that the new, Mabuyane-led, provincial executive committee (PEC) be disbanded, and that an interim structure be appointed until a rerun of the elective conference could be held, within three months.
However, the party instead opted for a solution that would promote “unity” in the ANC. The party argued they could not be forced to implement their own internal recommendations. The NEC thus rejected Ndebele’s recommendation, with some in the NEC reportedly also feeling his report was biased.
Had the dissatisfied members won their court case, it would effectively have nullified the Nasrec ANC national conference as part of a ripple effect.
The NEC appointed Ndebele to head a task team to investigate the complaints by members opposed to the outcome of the October 2017 provincial elective conference, which was dubbed the “festival of chairs” and was marred by violence.
Mawanda Ndakisa, on behalf of the Masualle-supporting group said their court application came due to their “considered view that the Sbu Ndebele report gives key recommendations and if implemented can unite and bring stability within ANC structures in the Eastern Cape”.
Ndakisa took issue with those who had declared they had lost their entire case.
“Our court application was to apply for the matter to be considered as an urgent matter …. And so the recent court hearing was less about the merits of the case, but more about whether the matter is urgent or not.”
Ndakisa said the merits of the case had, however, not been assessed yet, and the courts had therefore “not confirmed the legitimacy and legality of the outcomes of the 8th Elective Conference of the Eastern Cape, as others would like to believe”.
They alleged Mabuyane has been leading a cult of personality and criticised him for allegedly insulting those who disagreed with him.
“We want to register that it is very unfortunate the so-called Eastern Cape Provincial Executive Committee of the ANC and Oscar Mabuyane’s cult … have reduced this attempt to defend democracy within the organisation and resulted to an act of desperation by ‘uneducated’ people within the organisation who suffer from Dunning-Kruger effect.”
Mabuyane had in effect insulted these members by alleging that because they had lesser abilities, they tended to rate themselves as more proficient than they really were (the Dunning-Kruger effect), and even accused them of taking a bribe to mount their case against him.
“It is quite shocking and embarrassing, to say the least, that the [Mabuyne] PEC of the ANC views uneducated people and unemployed people as people who can’t think independently and can’t make views without being bribed…
“The provincial executive committee of Oscar Mabuyane forgets that these ‘uneducated, unemployed and brainless’ people are looking at the ANC to provide solutions for the challenges of unemployment and inequality, and yet the PEC makes an insinuation that these people are useless and can be used by whoever has money readily available. These utterances are anti-majoritarian and counter-revolutionary.”
Ndakisa added that the refusal to accept Ndebele’s remedial actions would set a dangerous precedent in the ANC with the potential to “erode the integrity and the trust that members of our organisation have in the internal processes of the [ANC]”, and lead members to seek recourse outside of internal structures.
“We will, therefore, continue to seek remedial actions from the courts on the matter of legitimacy and legality of the conference.”
They alleged that factionalism had contributed to the “purging of comrades who were not supporting a particular faction leading up to Nasrec and in the process undermining the unity, internal democracy and the stability of the ANC”.