IEC waits for courts to solve PAC's 'raging dispute' before recognising leader

04 November 2019 - 18:46 By Amil Umraw
The IEC will await a decision by the courts before recognising a legitimate leader of the PAC, retracting its earlier decision to recognise Mzwanele Nyhontso over rival Narius Moloto.
The IEC will await a decision by the courts before recognising a legitimate leader of the PAC, retracting its earlier decision to recognise Mzwanele Nyhontso over rival Narius Moloto.
Image: Moeletsi Mabe

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it will await a decision by the courts before recognising a legitimate leader of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC).

In a statement on Monday, the IEC said it had written to both disputing groups of the party advising them of its intention to await the outcome of ongoing court cases before recognising either faction - one aligned to Narius Moloto and the other aligned to Mzwanele Nyhontso - as the rightful leadership of the party.

In its letter, the IEC said the renewed leadership dispute and litigation had made it impossible to determine the rightful leadership.

"It is clear that there is still a raging leadership dispute within the PAC and what is more, there are disputes between the warring groupings about the current status of their litigation and the legal effect thereof," said the IEC.

"The commission’s enduring position is that the commission is neither empowered nor able to resolve leadership disputes and to determine which grouping comprises the legitimate leadership of a party - and the PAC is no exception. Such disputes must either be resolved politically inside the party concerned, or failing which, they should be resolved by the courts.

"In view thereof, the commission is minded to await the final outcome of the current proceedings prior to it making a final decision on whom to recognise as representing the PAC."

In June, Business Day reported that factional infighting in the party spurred Moloto, who is the party's interim leader, to dissolve the party’s structures. This includes the national, provincial and regional executive committees, which would then be run by administrators comprising leaders from both factions.

The party has been rocked by infighting between a faction led by Moloto, which was elected at a congress in Mpumalanga in December 2017, and another led by Nyhontso, which was elected during a congress in Kimberley in December 2018.

The matter has been taken to the courts for decision, but the IEC previously reached a decision to recognise Nyhontso as the party's legitimate leader. 

The IEC's letter also invites both groups to write to the commission within seven days to provide reasons why the commission should or should not retract its leadership decision pending the finalisation of the current litigation.

"In October, based on the interpretation of court rulings and the status of litigation at the time, the commission had amended its record to indicate the Nyhontso grouping as the legitimate leadership of the party. However, subsequent correspondence from both sides revealed disputes as to whether the most recent court orders were in effect or whether they were suspended pending appeal," it said. 


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