After a long battle in the courts, the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) leadership dispute has been resolved after the North Gauteng High Court confirmed Mzwanele Nyhontso as the party’s lawful president.
But the judgment was based on a technicality after his rival Narius Moloto’s notice of appeal of an earlier ruling was not received by the registrar of the court. The court said his notice probably was not properly filed and as such was defective and therefore should fail.
While the court confirmed Nyhontso as president, it declared Moloto’s election as president and his national executive committee (NEC) in a separate elective conference, as unlawful and invalid. This after their factions held separate elective congresses within a week of each other in August 2019 and elected both Moloto and Nyhontso as president.
In a judgment on Monday, Judge Keitumetse Mahlangu declared that Moloto’s election and his entire national executive committee at the party’s elective congress held on 24 and 25 August 2019 and any resolution taken at the congress were unlawful and invalid.
On the other hand, the court ruled that Nyhontso and his NEC elected at the other congress held in Bloemfontein on 29 and 30 August 2019 were the lawful leadership of the PAC.
Nyhontso’s confirmation as the only PAC president allows him to return to occupy his seat in the National Assembly.
The separate congresses were held despite an agreement between the two factions to have a joint leadership with Moloto as president and Nyhontso as deputy president. The unity leadership organised an elective congress for 29 and 30 August.
But the unity fell off when Moloto invoked Clause 14.2 of the PAC Disciplinary code and disbanded the NEC. The NEC secretary-general Apa Pooe applied in court for Moloto’s action to be set aside and succeeded as it was granted by judge A.J. Millar, which Moloto appealed.
Moloto organised another elective congress for 24 and 25 August 2019 that elected him as president. However, the congress scheduled for end of August went ahead and elected Nyhontso as president while Moloto’s appeal was found to be defective.
The court directed the Electoral Commission of South Africa to allow Nyhontso through the application to participate in the 2021 local government elections. Both Moloto and the IEC were ordered to pay for the cost of application.