Advocate Wim Trengove, acting on behalf of the ANC and President Cyril Ramaphosa, on Friday slammed the party’s suspended secretary-general Ace Magashule’s request for the Johannesburg high court to impose a cost order on them for missing court deadlines.
Trengove argued before the full bench of the high court his clients did not breach any court rules. He told the court he took exception to Magashule’s contention that Ramaphosa and the ANC were being arrogant.
“They didn’t breach any rules at all. He means that they failed to file by the dates he demanded that they should. It’s an extraordinary thing and he then accuses them yesterday [Thursday] of arrogance,” Trengove said.
“It’s an extraordinary thing that Mr Magashule thinks that he can prescribe the president and the ANC when they should file their affidavits and that if they don’t meet this prescription, they have to beg the court for condonation for not complying with his laws.”
On Thursday, advocate Dali Mpofu, acting on behalf of Magashule, severely criticised the legal representatives of the ANC’s top national officials for missing court deadlines to submit their answering affidavits.
Mpofu said Ramaphosa and ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte’s late papers showed they were treating the court with disrespect.
He said the respondents should have informed the high court of the delays and the court should censure them.
“We have here a situation where litigants in question have flagrantly disregarded the very well-known rule that in urgent applications it is the applicant who determines the timetable, often unfairly so, but we were told the rules are the rules,” Mpofu said.
However, Trengove disagreed that his clients should have applied for condonation for the late filing of their applications in Magashule’s bid to overturn his suspension from the ANC.
Magashule was suspended in accordance with rule 25.70 of the ANC constitution, which requires all party members facing criminal charges to temporarily step down.
Trengove said Magashule served his application on a semi-urgent basis on 14 May 2021.
He said under normal circumstances his clients would have had about two weeks to file their notice of intention to oppose the application, but Magashule’s timeframes were unreasonable.
Trengove said it was not true that Ramaphosa and the ANC, as respondents in the case, missed their deadlines because they had promptly informed Magashule’s lawyers about the delays.
“Let me just make it quite clear, the president and the ANC’s attorney treated this issue and their attorney with collegiality,” Trengove said.
“There was nothing at all to seek condonation for. The president and the ANC did not break any rule at all.”
Trengove also said the suggestion that Ramaphosa and the ANC should have asked for condonation was therefore unfounded.
“My learned friend insulted the president of the ANC yesterday in making those submissions. [He] accused them of rank arrogance in not seeking condonation. That is unfounded and it’s not an insult deserved by either the president or the ANC.”
The case continues.