The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has declared the ANC Free State conference in 2018 unlawful and unconstitutional.
The matter had previously been struck off the roll, but the SCA handed down judgment on Wednesday morning. The SCA upheld the appeal with costs, including the costs of two counsels.
ANC members Matshepo Ramakatsa, Themba Mvandaba and Shashapa Motaung had challenged the validity of the conference, which saw Sam Mashinini replacing Ace Magashule as provincial chairperson.
"The question remains, therefore, whether the delegates to the elective PC (provincial congress) had been properly accredited and audited as required in terms of the Constitution of the ANC and its Membership Audit Guidelines... The answer is a resounding no," the judgment read."
"It is declared that the Provincial Conference for the Free State Province that took place on 18 and 19 May 2018 was held in violation of the court order of 29 November 2017, under case number 5942/2017, and that the said Provincial Conference, its decisions/resolutions and/or outcome are unlawful and unconstitutional," the order read.
ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe said the national executive committee would convene urgently "to give direction".
’"We call on all ANC structures in the province to remain disciplined and calm while we study the judgment and its implications for the movement, and the provincial executive committee elected at the conference," Mabe said.
"The ANC’s conduct of its affairs in the Free State has been riddled with irregularities and unlawfulness. Even after two separate high court proceedings holding that the ANC in the Free State had acted unlawfully, the May 2018 provincial conference was still unlawful," the SCA application had read.
Ramakatsa, Mvandaba and Motaung argued that the required audit of ANC branches did not occur in advance of the conference and at least eight branch general meetings did not take place lawfully, in compliance with the relevant requirements or previous court orders granted against the ANC.
The trio accused the ANC of failing to conduct an audit process of all branches and membership and that the meetings took place not more than nine months before the date of the conference.