The founder of Abantu Batho Congress (ABC), Philani Mavundla, and secretary-general Phumelele Phahla will be bringing an urgent application at the Pietermaritzburg high court to declare his suspension as invalid.
This after former ABC party members launched an investigation into alleged misconduct on both Mavundla and Phahla. Mavundla said their suspensions were pending the investigation.
The application was brought against the ABC, national chairperson of the ABC Bhengu Mgezeni Gwala, former members of ABC Vusimuzi Dladla and Busisiwe Khoza, whom Mavundla said were both acting unlawfully as members of the national disciplinary committee of the party.
The application was also brought against unidentified persons acting as members of the national disciplinary committee and the party’s national disciplinary committee itself.
Mavundla wants to interdict and restrain Dladla, Khoza, and the unidentified persons acting as members of the national disciplinary committee, and the national disciplinary committee.
He also wants to restrain them from carrying out their duties and responsibilities of the national disciplinary committee. In addition, he wants the decision taken by Dladla, Khoza and the unidentified persons to suspend him and Phahla from office to be suspended.
In court papers, Mavundla and Phahla allege that their suspension was unlawful and violated their right to participate in the activities of the political party.
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“Our suspensions, as the most senior members of the ABC, by an illegitimate structure, not only erodes the integrity of the ABC and create confusion and discontent in the general membership of the party, but it is also a direct violation of our individual right to human dignity in section 10 of the constitutional court,” said Mavundla.
He added: “This, I submit, is nothing short of connivance to unseat Phahla and I from office by illegal [means] so that Dladla, his wife, and others can escape discipline from the party [over] failure to meet their obligations in terms of the party constitution and the unreasonable and unlawful instruction issued [by] them.”
Mavundla said the ABC was already infiltrated by imposters claiming to be members and convenors of its national disciplinary committee. He said this was a clear threat to the integrity, legitimacy and the existence of the party.
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“The risk of harm is more heightened given that the country is approaching general elections in 2024 and [the party] should be engaged in concerted efforts to launch its campaign and conclude multilateral coalition agreements with other like-minded political formations, rather than entertain distractions by illegitimate powermongers and thugs.”
Mavundla said he was informed about the allegations of misconduct levelled against him through a letter sent by Dladla early last month. He said he did not entertain the allegations because they were brought by a former member of the ABC.
He said he was later informed that an investigation into these allegations was necessary and that his suspension was contemplated. The ABC founder said he challenged the legitimacy of Dladla and the structure that claimed to have suspended him and Phahla, but has not received an answer.
He said Dladla, Khoza and others were also engaged in a media campaign to harm and smear both him and Phahla’s names. He added that damage has already created commotion and discontent among the members of the ABC, but also in the general political scene in KwaZulu-Natal.
“Of cardinal importance is that many political parties and senior politicians in KZN, which I will not disclose, have expressed doubt in continuing with coalition talks with me as president of the ABC as the country draws near to the 2024 elections.
“This has devastating effects for Phahla and I personally, and particularly the ABC, as we may be too late and effectively left out of any participation in any coalition talks that are happening across the country presently to secure democracy for our members,” said Mavundla.