High court ruling ‘might be hollow victory’ for Mahumapelo
The North West PEC is expected to leave office this month anyway, an expert says.
Former North West premier Supra Mahumapelo celebrates after winning a court challenge effectively reinstating him as ANC chair in the province. Picture: Itumeleng English / African News Agency (ANA)
The ruling by the High Court in Johannesburg that the ANC’s North West provincial executive committee (PEC) must be reinstated may be a hollow victory.
An expert believes the ruling might not be a cause for too much concern at Luthuli House, because the PEC’s term of office would have ended this month anyway.
Dr Somadoda Fikeni added the fact that the ANC planned to appeal the ruling suggested the party was not prepared to allow Supra Mahumapelo, the former ANC provincial chairperson, to have his way in the matter.
Instead, Mahumapelo and the PEC would have to bargain for favour with the party’s national executive committee (NEC) because they have a weak case to stay in charge.
In her ruling, Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane said the NEC’s decision to dissolve the PEC was “procedurally unfair” and ordered that the leadership structure be reinstated within two days.
The judge said the party’s top leadership had not given the PEC a hearing before it took the decision to disband it.
Mahumapelo’s PEC approached the court after it was disbanded and replaced with an interim task team, chaired by Job Mokgoro, who also replaced Mahumapelo as premier.
Fikeni said that since the PEC was expected to leave office this month and the ANC had appealed the ruling, the victory was hollow. By the time the appeal was heard, their term would have expired.
The fact that the PEC went to court to challenge the ANC also did not put them in a favourable light with the NEC. It has resolved to take disciplinary measures against those who did.
“I don’t think the ANC would be amused by their decision to go to court. The party might show displeasure at that.
“But Supra may bargain from the wilderness to say he should be included in the ANC task team,” said Fikeni.
Even if Mahumapelo tried to bargain, his leadership was unpopular among people, added Fikeni. He could not even argue to be reinstated as premier because he voluntarily resigned amid violent protests and widespread governance impropriety in North West.
Fikeni said any move by former president Jacob Zuma to support the PEC in undermining the Ramaphosa-led ANC would be counterproductive, as he also voluntarily resigned as South African president.
Acting ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa called on all ANC structures in North West to remain focused on mobilisation for an overwhelming ANC victory in the elections.
Meanwhile, North West Democratic Alliance premier candidate Joe McGluwa said not even the courts could repair the broken and failing ANC.
He said: “The failing ANC cannot be trusted to deal with serious matters efficiently and we know from our lived experiences in North West that the failing ANC cannot be trusted to govern in the interest of the people.”